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Fight over Keystone pipeline could be first confrontation between Obama, Congress in 2015

(Xinhua)    14:36, January 08, 2015

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7-- The newly elected Republican-led U.S. Congress may soon see its first round of squabbles with President Barack Obama over a legislation that would allow a pipeline to run from Canada to the Gulf Coast in the United States.

Republicans clinched control of Congress in November's midterm elections in the biggest sweep since World War II amid sinking popularity for Obama, as many Americans expressed frustration over daunting unemployment figures.

On Tuesday, the White House said Obama would veto any new legislation aimed at setting up the Keystone pipeline, setting the stage for the first political battle in 2015.

The House is expected to vote on the issue as early as Friday, and it remains unknown whether the newly elected Republican-led Congress could garner the two-thirds majority vote needed to override any presidential veto.

Proponents say the pipeline, if built, would create around 40,000 direct and indirect jobs and inject around 3 billion U.S. dollars into the economy each year, while opponents claim the pipeline will have huge negative impact on the environment.

There is little possibility of compromise on the pipeline, Brookings Institution's senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua in an interview.

"Obama will veto legislation passed by Congress and it is not clear if there are sufficient votes to override his veto... Things don't look very optimistic for the construction of that pipeline," he said.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said that Republicans will have to take a step back and figure out what amendments they need to get more Democrats on board in order to override Obama's veto, as the president has no interest in compromising on the matter.

Americans elected Republicans to Congress not to stick it to Democrats and the White House, but rather because of impatience over the sluggish recovery from the economic downturn, O'Connell said.

"Republicans have to understand that their job is to get that (bill) on Obama's desk. If he vetoes it, their job is to figure out how to get it past the president," O'Connell told Xinhua, adding that it remains unclear whether the Republicans will have the votes needed to override a veto.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Zhang Qian)

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