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Congress approves pipeline


Congress approves pipeline

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress inched closer to a possible showdown with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL oil pipeline as the Republican-controlled House approved the project.

Supporters in the Democratic-run Senate predicted they will get the 60 votes needed to pass it next week.

The House vote was 252-161 in favour of the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy, (Louisiana), in an effort to boost his chances to take a Louisiana Senate seat away from Democrat Mary Landrieu. The two are headed for a December 6 runoff and have been touting their energy credentials in the oil and gas-producing state.

Should the Senate send the bill to Obama for his signature, he would face a decision that pits some of his environmental concerns about the pipeline, mainly its consequences for global warming, against potentially helping a fellow Democrat making a longshot bid to retain her Senate seat.

The House bill was supported by 221 Republicans, with not a single GOP lawmaker voting against it. Thirty-one Democrats backed the bill, while 161 rejected it.

“This will make it easier for the Senate to do right by the American people and finally vote on building the pipeline,” Cassidy said Friday in a statement after the vote.

The bill’s passage marked the ninth time the House had passed a bill to speed up the pipeline’s construction.

Landrieu pushed the Senate to hold its upcoming vote on the measure.

As of Friday, supporters of the measure appeared to have at least 59 of the 60 Senate votes they would need for approval next week. That included all 45 Republicans and 14 Democrats.

Landrieu conceded, though, that it is unlikely the Senate or House will have the two-thirds majorities that would be needed to override an Obama veto of the bill. She said she did not know Obama’s plans.