WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2015 – House Democrats today denied Republicans a veto-proof margin on the Keystone XL pipeline, ensuring that the standoff with the White House over the project is likely to continue.
The House voted 266-153 to pass a bill, H.R. 3, that would clear the way for construction of the pipeline, but the margin was well short of the two-thirds needed to override the veto threatened by President Barack Obama. The Senate, where Republicans also have been short of votes, will hold a cloture vote -- on whether to limit debate -- on Keystone Monday.
Twenty-eight Democrats broke party ranks to support the project. No Republicans opposed it, although Justin Amash, R-Mich., voted present.
Several of the bill’s Democratic supporters represent farm districts, including Collin Peterson and Tim Walz of Minnesota, Dave Loebsack of Iowa, Jim Costa of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon and David Scott of Georgia. Nine lawmakers, six of them Democrats, were absent for the vote.
The vote came the same day as the Nebraska Supreme Court removed a major roadblock for the pipeline by overturning a lower court decision and upholding a state law that allowed the governor to approve the route of the project within the state.
But Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., complained that Republicans were focusing on Keystone instead of what he said were more pressing economic issues.