The first veto showdown between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress heats up this week over legislation to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation on Wednesday – already approved by the Senate – to move ahead with the new pipeline, and will send it to the White House for the President’s signature by the end of the week.
READ: Senate passes Keystone XL measure
“I’m delighted that we finally have come to an opportunity to move this to the President’s desk,” House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said Tuesday night, noting the six-year battle between proponents of the pipeline and the administration over the issue.
Obama has pledged a veto – one of more than a dozen he has offered up on GOP bills Congress has debated so far this year – on the measure. The President maintains it’s up to the executive branch to make the decision on whether or not to OK the new pipeline.
When they took control of both chambers of Congress in January, Republican leaders made Keystone their first legislative priority. The bill did receive some bipartisan support, with nine mostly centrist Senate Democrats backing it in a vote last month. A group of 28 House Democrats also joined the GOP to support the measure in the first House vote on the issue. But it doesn’t have enough votes to get the two-thirds majority needed to overcome a presidential veto.
The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, told reporters he still expected an effort to override the President’s veto.
“Put everyone on record. It’s a very popular piece of legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support,” Cornyn said. “Part of what we’re going to need to do is let the President own his own bad judgments on popular legislation.”
CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed to this report.