In the past, US President’s facing a hostile congress controlled by the opposing party typically issue many more vetoes than those who have a friendly congress supporting their policies. President Obama has only issued two vetoes since becoming president, but that is about to change with the very first issue out of the new Congress controlled by the GOP, as supported in Bloomberg BusinesWeek (Obama Keystone Veto Vow Sets Up Battles on Republican Agenda):
Barack Obama has vetoed fewer bills than any U.S. president since James Garfield held the office for six months in 1881. With Republicans now in control of Congress, that’ll probably change.
As expected, Keystone Pipeline XL is the first bill to be presented by the new US Senate with 60 co-sponsors, enough to overcome any filibusters and quickly move the legislation to a vote, as described in the Huffington Post (White House Issues Veto Threat Over Keystone XL Pipeline):
The White House issued a veto threat Tuesday for pending legislation intended to force federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline…Earnest's remarks came at a press conference shortly after Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation that would force federal approval of the pipeline. The bill, the first of the new Senate, has 60 co-sponsors, including six Democrats. The House is slated to vote Friday on its own bill to approve the proposed pipeline.
This may also suggest that with enough Democrat votes in the Senate and the record strong number of Republicans in the House of Representatives, that Congress may be able to override a promised presidential veto of the legislation. The new Republican majority certainly seems willing to attempt the override to gain an early political advantage over the president, as suggested in The Wall Street Journal (Obama Threatens to Veto Keystone Pipeline Approval):
The pipeline veto threat drew a rebuke from Republican leaders…“The president threatening to veto the first bipartisan infrastructure bill of the new Congress must come as a shock to the American people who spoke loudly in November in favor of bipartisan accomplishments,” new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said.
Why would President Obama follow through on a veto when he knows it may be overridden by Congress in what will be perceived as an early victory for the GOP? Politics, of course.
The environmental left drew a line in the sand with President Obama on the Keystone Pipeline long ago, as spearheaded by billionaire Tom Steyer (see: Tom Steyer: The shady billionaire with millions of reasons to kill Keystone XL), and despite his lame duck status and the possibility of a veto override, the president is still singing from their song sheet.
Look for a quick vote in Congress on Keystone, an equally quick veto from the president, and again, an equally quick vote in Congress to attempt an override. If the override vote fails, then TransCanada, the company which is seeking approval of Keystone, may have to wait two more years for a new administration to achieve passage.
After this political skirmish, watch for renewed public pressure on President Obama from the environmental lobby for every regulatory measure and executive order possible to address climate change over the next two years.
For the record, see my prediction of the president’s veto on Keystone in November on Cavuto on the FOX Business Network.