Some Dems prepared to override Obama's veto

Some Dems prepared to override Obama's veto
© Getty Images

Some Senate Democrats are already saying they will vote to override President Obama's veto of legislation authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Trump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws MORE (W.Va.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (Mo.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (N.D.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines Pennsylvania school district turns down local businessman's offer to pay off student lunch debts MORE (Pa.) will vote to override Obama’s veto, according to aides, and it’s possible that several other Democrats will follow suit.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump faces crucial decisions on economy, guns Are Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' MORE (R-Ky.), said the "Senate will soon vote on an override" of the veto, with the action coming "not later than March the 3rd."

ADVERTISEMENT

The vote is certain to fail unless Republicans and Democrats who support the pipeline are able to recruit four more senators to their cause. Sixty-three senators voted for the Keystone bill, including nine Democrats, but 67 votes are needed to overrule a presidential veto.

Still, every Democratic vote to override the veto would be a rebuke of Obama, who needs to avoid major rifts with his party as he enters the final stretch of his presidency.

While Manchin said he plans to back the override, he isn't expecting the effort to be successful.

"I would vote to override it but are we going to have it? I mean we only had nine votes to pass it so what do you think? I don't think that's going to happen," Manchin told reporters on Tuesday.

McCaskill argued that Obama should listen to the State Department’s review of Keystone, which "shows that his oil is coming out of the ground, it’s only a question of how."

"Pipelines are better than barges or trains. That’s common sense, and I will vote to override this veto," McCaskill said.

Heitkamp, who has voted to approve the pipeline multiple times, said Keystone supporters need to fight on.

"We must continue to look for other avenues and also work for more votes and compromises on legislation that would ultimately approve this project," she said.

Sens. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? MORE (Colo.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction FARA should apply to Confucius Institutes The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (Del.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (Ind.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Budget deal sparks scramble to prevent shutdown MORE (Mont.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach New intel chief inherits host of challenges Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE (Va.) were the other Democrats joining Heitkamp, Manchin, McCaskill and Casey in voting to approve Keystone.

Even if all nine Democrats who voted to approve Keystone in January support overriding Obama's veto, the Senate would still fall short.

Getting a two-thirds majority would be even tougher in the House, with Republicans needing scores of Democrats to buck the president.

If an override fails, it still won't be the end, with proponents saying they will try to attach approval of Keystone to a larger energy package, an infrastructure bill or an appropriations bill.

And at every turn opponents will meet votes with protests, and will press Democrats to sustain the veto.

“The sooner we can start working on sustaining a veto, the better,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “What it comes down to is loyalty to president.”