McConnell urges Dems to override Obama's veto on Keystone pipeline

McConnell urges Dems to override Obama's veto on Keystone pipeline
© Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' Winners and losers in the border security deal House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency MORE pressed Democrats on Wednesday to join Republicans in voting to override President Obama's veto of legislation authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  


"I’m urging every Democrat who still believes their party should be about workers, not these deep-pocketed special interests and extremists, to join us," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

"Vote for cloture. Vote to override," he added.

The Senate will hold a cloture vote Wednesday, setting up the final vote Thursday on whether to override the president's veto of the Keystone bill sent to him by the Republican-controlled Congress last week. 

"Keystone’s bipartisan coalition in the Senate is only a few votes shy of the two-thirds majority we’d need to override this partisan veto and bring Keystone’s jobs here to America," McConnell said. 

Without wooing more Democrats to vote against the veto, proponents of the pipeline will fall four votes short of the 67 needed to override Obama.

Right now, supporters expect to have 63 votes backing the project. That means the nine Democrats that voted to approve construction of the pipeline in January will vote to override the veto on Thursday.

One of those Democrats, Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House MORE (Del.), has yet to confirm that he will vote to overturn the president's veto.

McConnell suggested that Obama's veto might have upset Democrats who originally voted against the pipeline. 

"We have seen how the president's veto has outraged some in the labor union community. I know it makes some of our Democratic colleagues pretty uncomfortable as well," McConnell said. 

"I suspect that includes Democrats who didn't support the Senate's initial passage of Keystone. I suspect it also includes Democrats who might otherwise support their leadership's unprecedented filibuster of a veto override motion."

The administration argues the bill circumvents the ongoing process at the State Department. 

In recent comments, Obama said Keystone "bypasses the United States" and is "for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf." 

His harsh evaluation of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline has spurred hope among opponents, who argue the project will exacerbate climate change, that the president will ultimately reject it.