The president has consistently expressed his opposition to the legislation, even referencing it in his January State of the Union address. The White House has argued that the State Department should finish its assessment of the pipeline, as the project may not create as many jobs as supporters have claimed.
Opponents of the pipeline have highlighted the potential for a negative environmental impact, as it may increase carbon pollution and could spill into an aquifer that provides much of the freshwater in the Great Plains agricultural states.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who made passing the bill a top priority after Republicans gained control of the chamber in November’s elections, has framed the measure as a “jobs bill.” Even if Obama rejects the bill, “the new Congress won’t stop pursuing good ideas,” McConnell said.
Keystone supporters in the Senate are at least four votes shy of the two-thirds vote needed to override an Obama veto. They have vowed to attach language approving the pipeline in a spending bill or other legislation later in the year that the president would find difficult to reject.
TransCanada’s pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands petroleum to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf. It has been pending for more than six years.
-Reuters contributed to this report.