For four years, Republicans in Congress have been accused of obstructing President Obama’s agenda. Now, with the House and Senate under their control, GOP leaders are ready to turn the tables.
During the next few months, congressional leaders plan to approve a steady stream of legislation that has the support of at least a few Democrats but is opposed by the White House. Obama will be forced either to sign these “bipartisan” bills — including several that would begin to dismantle his Affordable Care Act — or dust off the veto pen he has used only twice in six years.
The test case for this strategy cleared the House on Friday: approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Obama has threatened to veto the Keystone bill, along with two others. Nonetheless, the House voted 266 to 153 to approve the measure, with 28 Democrats joining all but one Republican voting yes. The bill goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to stage a lengthy, high-profile debate that is likely to stretch through Obama’s State of the Union address Jan. 20.
Both parties are girding for a rhetorical battle that could have far-reaching political implications. Democrats, for instance, plan to offer an amendment by Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) that would force Republicans to go on record either acknowledging or denying that climate change “is real” and “is caused by human activities.”
They also will seek to force Canadian oil companies using the pipeline to pay into a federal oil-spill trust fund, a change Republicans are willing to include in the final bill, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Friday.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, plan to focus on Keystone’s potential to create jobs and foster U.S. energy independence, as well as its broad appeal to the general public.
“We’re going to put this bill on the president’s desk. And he’s going to have to make a decision whether to side with jobs and the economy or whether to side with environmental extremists,” said Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), a member of the Senate GOP leadership.
Read complete article via GOP-controlled House votes to approve Keystone pipeline despite veto threat – The Washington Post.