Obama exercised the third veto of his presidency last night, as the expected veto of Keystone occurred within hours of the legislation arriving with him. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has said he will hold a veto override by the 3 March at the latest. Given the figures by which the bill initially passed the two houses however, Congress simply does not have the votes to reach the 2/3rds required to override – the Republicans will need to flip 20 Democrats in the House and 4 in the Senate who all initially opposed the bill.
Any veto requires an explanation so Congress can decide what to do next – allow the veto to stand, attempt to override or amend the bill. In this case, Obama wrote:
“Because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto,”
House Speaker, John Boehner responded – “The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment.”
This is a good example of checks and balances, powers given by the Constitution and the importance of leadership in Congress. It could also be used as to the importance of pressure groups (the environmental lobby was heaping pressure on Obama in this case) as well as the role of the media.