Feb 24th 2015 5:15PM
Obama offered no indication of whether he'll eventually issue a permit for the pipeline, whose construction has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate about environmental policy and climate change. Instead, Obama sought to reassert his authority to make the decision himself, rebuffing GOP lawmakers who will control both the House and Senate for the remainder of the president's term.
"The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously," Obama said in a brief notice delivered to the Senate. "But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people."
Obama vetoed the bill in private with no fanfare, in contrast to the televised ceremony Republican leaders staged earlier this month when they signed the bill and sent it to the president. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans were "not even close" to giving up the fight and derided the veto as a "national embarrassment."
Although the veto is Obama's first since Republicans took control on Capitol Hill, it was not likely to be the last. GOP lawmakers are lining up legislation rolling back Obama's actions on health care, immigration and financial regulation that Obama has promised to similarly reject.
"He's looking at this as showing he still can be king of the hill, because we don't have the votes to override," Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a vocal opponent of Obama's climate change agenda, said in an interview. "If he vetoed this, he's going to veto many others that are out there."
Republicans and the energy industry say the $8 billion project would create jobs, spur growth and increase America's independence from Mideast energy sources. Democrats and environmental groups have sought to make the pipeline a poster child for the type of dirty energy sources they say are exacerbating global warming.
For his part, Obama says his administration is still weighing the pipeline's merits, and he has repeatedly threatened to veto any attempts by lawmakers to make the decision for him.
The GOP-controlled House passed the bill earlier in February on a 270-152 vote, following weeks of debate and tweaks in the Senate to insert language stating that climate change is real and not a hoax. Republican leaders in Congress delayed sending the bill to the White House until they returned from a weeklong recess, ensuring they would be on hand to denounce the president when he vetoed the bill.
The veto forced Republicans, still reveling in their dramatic gains in the midterm elections, to confront the limitations of being unable to turn their ideas into law without the president's consent - despite the fact they now control both chambers of Congress.
Obama last wielded his veto power in October 2010, nixing a relatively mundane bill dealing with recognition of documents notarized out of state. With the Keystone bill, Obama's veto count stands at just three - far fewer than most of his predecessors. Yet his veto threats have been piling up rapidly since Republicans took full control of Congress, numbering more than a dozen so far this year.
'Well... So where are we??? The Rethugs have pretended a new Jobs Bill never existed, and now complaining about a pipeline they say will create jobs, and for who??? Perhaps the many undocumented who will never ask for a Raise or Healthcare, only to fill the pockets of those who spent the most on buying their Elections to begin with??? Fuck Yeah Barack, Kick these Shady Bastards when they are Down, they do not represent the American People by any Means!!!!'