Give him credit, one supposes. He mentioned several times in his State of the Union address in January that he would use his veto pen (a companion to his veto phone?) if the newly empowered GOP-controlled Senate sent him a piece of legislation that he didn’t like. They did and he did.
From the Hill:
President Obama on Tuesday vetoed legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, rebuffing the new Republican Congress amid a furious battle over Homeland Security funding.
The veto — just the third of Obama’s presidency — was made in private and without fanfare, reflecting the tensions in the Democratic Party over whether the pipeline should be approved.
“Through this bill the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” Obama said in his veto statement.
That is, of course, Obama’s latest position on the pipeline. Previously he claimed he was delaying a decision on whether to sign off on or scrap the project pending the completion of its environmental report. That was a blatant stall tactic. Obama continued to waffle even after the State Department concluded its final environmental assessment issued in January of 2014, which found that the pipeline would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaker of the House John Boehner called today’s veto a “national embarrassment,” adding:
The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America’s workers. He’s too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that’s put the national interest first.
But it wasn’t just Republicans who expressed displeasure at the president’s action. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a former governor of coal-rich West Virginia and a staunch advocate of Keystone, said he will vote to override Obama even though he isn’t optimistic that the effort will succeed. Another Senate Democrat, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, also lent her support to an override.