Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill

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President Obama on Tuesday followed through on his vow to veto bipartisan-backed legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, marking his first veto of the Republican-led Congress and only the third of his presidency.

The president, in a brief statement, claimed the bill would “circumvent” the existing process for reviewing the pipeline, which would extend from Canada to Texas.

“The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously,” Obama said. “But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

The decision, while expected, was met with tough criticism from Republicans — and tees up another showdown with Congress in the coming days as GOP leaders try to override.

“It’s extremely disappointing that President Obama vetoed a bipartisan bill that would support thousands of good jobs and pump billions of dollars into the economy,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement. “Even though the President has yielded to powerful special interests, this veto doesn’t end the debate.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the veto a “national embarrassment.”

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