House approves construction of Keystone Pipeline, bill heads to Senate

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WASHINGTON (CNN) – Defying a presidential veto threat, the House of Representatives passed a bill that approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

More than two dozen Democrats joined nearly all the Republicans to pass the measure 266-153.

Now, the bill will head to the Senate, where GOP leaders are confident they have enough votes to overcome a filibuster.

Earlier this week, President Obama threatened to veto the bill if it reached his desk.

The White House says it is waiting on the State Department to review a new court ruling that effectively removes a major block to the buildings of the pipeline.

“The State Department is examining the court’s decision as part of its process to evaluate whether the Keystone XL Pipeline project serves the national interest. As we have made clear, we are going to let that process play out,” Eric Schultz, White House principal deputy press secretary, said Friday.

The pipeline would run through several states, including Oklahoma, to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Opponents say the pipeline creates a major risk to the environment, but proponents say it will boost jobs and lessen American dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

“The southern leg of the pipeline is already operational and runs through the Second District. I’ve see the benefits that the southern leg has already had in my district and I know this approval will enhance these effects. Additionally, we know from the State Department’s reports and other sources that the final construction of the pipeline will support around 42,100 jobs and provide $5 billion in private-sector investment into the economy. This is exactly the type of economic growth that Americans want,” Said Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who voted to approve the bill in the House of Representatives.

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