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WASHINGTON, D.C. — As promised, President Barack Obama Tuesday rejected a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The 1,179-mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico was approved by both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. However, while the measure was approved overwhelmingly by Republicans, some Democrats balked at the idea.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said despite Obama's veto, Republicans are "not even close" to backing down on the Keystone XL legislation. He called the veto a "national embarrassment."
The bill could still pass if it is reintroduced and two-thirds of the members in both the House of Representatives and Senate vote to approve the pipeline. Chief Republican bill sponsor, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), told The Associated Press that four more votes in the Senate and 11 more in the House of Representatives must be procured to achieve the two-thirds supermajority.
This marked only the third time in his six-year presidency that Obama wielded his veto power. His administration had long stated that the president would veto the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation if it appeared on his desk.
The Democratic president did not explain why he vetoed the bill, only issuing a statement that read: "The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people."
In the past, the president has said the pipeline would not reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil, would not decrease prices at the pump, and would only create a miniscule number of long-term jobs. Republicans have disagreed with all these claims.
The Keystone XL Pipeline project was first proposed by TransCanada Corp. more than six years ago. The legislation has sat in limbo since, in part due to the requirement of a federal government permit because it crosses an international boundary.