Tags: Barack Obama | Keystone XL Pipeline | keystone | pipeline | veto | barack obama | republican

GOP: Obama's Keystone Veto Could Make Him 'the Lamest of Ducks'

By    |   Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:16 PM

President Barack Obama Tuesday made good on his threats Tuesday and vetoed the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline — a move that may have "relegated him to the lamest of ducks by taking something that is so bipartisan and turning it into a huge negative for him," Republican strategist Brad Blakeman told Newsmax.

"Democrats and unions are flabbergasted that the president has dug in on this, when so many Democrats are affected by it and have been rebuked by it," he said. "It may mark the beginning of the end of his presidency."

Bruce Haynes, founder and president of Purple Strategies, said that "this won't be the last time we see that veto pen in action.

"It's a part of a broader strategy that seems to be centered about being more combative, being more questioning of Republican priorities," said Haynes, another GOP strategist. "The president is suggesting that he wants to go down with a fight."

But North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven told Newsmax that Republicans expected a veto and that "we've planned for it all along.

"His decision is good for OPEC. It gives them more leverage," he said. "Anytime the president makes it harder for us to produce energy here at home or work with Canada, he's actually creating an advantage for OPEC.

"That's not what people in this country want," Hoeven said.

In his first veto in five years — three since assuming the White House in 2009 — Obama vetoed the Keystone project, making the decision privately at the White House and rebuffing the Republicans who will control Congress for his remaining two years in office.

"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 threatened the veto last month — and the legislation now goes back to Congress, where Republicans lack the two-thirds majority in both chambers needed to override it.

Hoeven, who co-sponsored the bill with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, said Republicans needed four votes in the Senate and 11 in the House to rebuke the president.

"It's ironic that he said in his veto message that our approving the pipeline congressionally was a shortcut to his process," Hoeven told Newsmax, "but here his process has been going on for six years — and still he hasn't made a decision yet. Not credible."

First proposed by TransCanada Corp. in 2008, the pipeline would span 1,179 miles and travel through Montana and South Dakota. In Nebraska, the project would connect with existing pipelines and carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Texas refineries.

Republicans have long argued that Keystone would create 42,000 jobs and would increase of the nation's GDP by $3 billion. Democrats and environmental groups have long cited the pipeline in its fight against climate change.

Keystone requires a permit from the federal government because it would cross an international boundary.

House Speaker John Boehner said that Republicans were "not even close" to giving up the fight and derided the veto as a "national embarrassment."

The House approved the project earlier this month on a 270-152 vote. Republicans delayed sending the bill to the White House until they returned from a weeklong recess, ensuring that they would be on hand when Obama vetoed the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would start the process to try to override Obama's veto by March 3.

Hoeven told Newsmax that Republicans would work to insert Keystone into other critical legislation dealing with energy, spending or infrastructure that Obama would be less likely to reject.

While Obama's veto is the first since Republicans took control in January, it most likely will not be his last. Hoeven told Newsmax that Republicans are expecting the president to issue as many as 13 vetoes to stop their efforts to roll back Obamacare, his amnesty immigration orders and financial regulation.

The president last wielded his veto power in October 2010, nixing a relatively mundane bill dealing with recognition of documents notarized out of state.

"He's looking at this as showing he still can be king of the hill, because we don't have the votes to override," said Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe. "If he vetoed this, he's going to veto many others that are out there."

Other conservatives were just as virulent.

"The least President Obama can do is look the American people in the eye when he is so blatantly defying them," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

"The fact he vetoed the bipartisan Keystone pipeline in private shows how out of step he is with the priorities of the American people, who overwhelmingly support this vital jobs and infrastructure project."

Georgia Sen. David Perdue called the president's action "ridiculous."

"Georgians are sick and tired of petty politics and gridlock in Washington, and President Obama’s veto is the epitome of both," he said. "It’s a shame that the President has chosen special interests over helping the American people."

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said that "President Obama said no to job creation, no to new energy infrastructure, no to affordable energy, and no to greater North American energy security.

"President Obama turned his back on hard-working Americans, hard-working families, and the businesses that grow our nation’s economy," she said. "This veto was a short-sighted, politically-driven mistake. It is a failure of leadership because America needs energy and infrastructure."

However, Blakeman told Newsmax that the onus on getting the Keystone override falls on Democrats, not Republicans. "That's not very many to try and horse-trade over this," he said, considering the numbers.

"If the president gets rebuked on this, then he's going to have a hard time on any and every legislation that he's going to bring before a Republican House and Senate in the future."

The veto could easily be overridden because "of the bipartisan support that this bill has received and the fact that labor is so pro to this bill," Blakeman added. "This is a big slap in the face to the unions of this country that so enthusiastically supported this president in 2008 and 2012.

"It's up to Democrats now," he added. "Republicans don't need to help now. We need Democrats to woo Democrats — and the Democrats who have been put in the positions of being the whips of their party should horse-trade with Republicans.

"There is no more bipartisan bill that can come before the House or the Senate anytime soon that Keystone," Blakeman told Newsmax. "My hope is that they will be able to move four in the Senate, 11 in the House — and the president gets his comeuppance.

"He picks up his pen again, and it may be to his peril — not only on this piece of legislation, but other important legislation to follow."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Barack Obama Tuesday made good on his threats Tuesday and vetoed the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline — a move that may have "relegated him to the lamest of ducks by taking something that...
keystone, pipeline, veto, barack obama, republican, reaction, oil, energy, economy
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:16 PM
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