Protesters hope Obama will veto the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal

The Republican-led Senate has made voting on the pipeline bill a priority

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Republican-led Senate has made voting on the Keystone XL Pipeline bill a priority.

The Senate has already moved the Keystone XL Pipeline bill to the floor so they can debate the proposal. The final vote is expected this Friday. President Obama has the power to stop the pipeline proposal, and some people hope he uses that power.

Nick Warren of Northampton said, “I’m out here to make a statement, a small statement with a bunch of other people, that this is a really bad idea.”

Dozens of people rallied in Northampton Tuesday night, urging the President to veto the pipeline proposal if it’s approved by Congress. The Obama administration has been considering this proposal for about six years now. The Keystone XL Pipeline, also called KXL, is designed to carry crude oil from Canada to Steele City, Nebraska and connect with an existing line there.

TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, promises jobs and U.S. energy independence. The KXL would transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day. They also promise safe operations. Opponents are not convinced.

Lenore Bryck of Amherst told 22News, “It’s inevitable that there’s going to be breaks. There’s going to be problems. You’re putting at risk everything that’s in its way.”

Bob Marshall of Chicopee said, “It’s a boom for the oil companies, and the oil companies are already getting billions and billions of dollars every year in subsidies, and it has to stop.”

If the President vetoes the proposal, the Senate could override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

Here’s a brief explanation of the president’s constitutional power to veto legislation and how Congress can respond (Courtesy: Steven R. Hurst, Associated Press):

THE ISSUES:

  • Legislation facing a White House veto if it successfully passes through Congress would:
  • Force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Canada’s tar sands oil across the United States to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Change the definition of fulltime work from 30 hours to 40 hours per week under Obama’s federal health care program, meaning employers would be obligated to extend health care coverage to fewer employers.
  • Roll back regulations on financial institutions put in place after the near-collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008.
  • Roll back Obama’s executive action giving temporary relief from deportation to about 4 million immigrants in the country illegally, along with permits allowing them to work legally in the U.S.
  • Blunt federal agencies’ ability to set regulations.

THE PRESIDENTIAL VETO:

The U.S. Constitution empowers the president to block legislation from becoming a law by refusing to sign it. The president has 10 days either to sign the bill into law or to send it back with an explanation of his veto. Congress may override a veto by bringing the measure to a new vote that passes with a two-thirds super-majority in both houses. Fewer than 5 percent of presidential vetoes have been overridden by Congress. Often the mere threat of a veto in advance of passage by Congress is enough to force a rewriting of the bill.

THE DOG NAMED VETO:

The first president, George Washington, exercised the first veto — of a measure that would have increased the number of seats for northern states in the House. President Andrew Jackson later popularized them, most famously in 1832 as part of a series of moves to shut down the Bank of the United States. President James Garfield named his dog Veto, an unsubtle warning to Congress that was never carried out: He was assassinated in 1881 after serving just 200 days, and remains the last president never to issue a veto.

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