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Senate Republicans plan to go around Obama, approve Keystone XL pipeline.

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Senate says it has power to circumvent Obama on Keystone pipeline

Senate Republicans plan to go around Obama, approve Keystone XL pipeline.

Senate Republicans say they have the congressional authority to circumvent President Barack Obama and give the green light to begin construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

Nearly half of the Senate, 44 lawmakers, signed on to legislation Monday to authorize TransCanada to begin work on the pipeline that would stretch from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast and transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries.

The lawmakers say they have that authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and cited an opinion from the Congressional Research Service confirming their authority to approve the project.

“The president said recently that he was for an all-of-the-above approach to energy, yet he rejected the one bipartisan energy project that is shovel-ready and can produce thousands of new jobs almost immediately – the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. –KY). “While it’s clear that the president was appealing to his liberal environmental base when he blocked Keystone, this legislation would move us towards the creation of thousands of jobs and energy security for our nation.”

The project has undergone rigorous environmental analysis for three years and the final decision by Obama and his State Department was scheduled for December. When the administration tried to again delay a decision until after the November election this year, Congress forced their hand to deliver a verdict before March and Obama responded by killing the project outright.

Republican Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota, Richard Lugar of Indiana and David Vitter of Louisiana authored the Senate bill.  Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the sole Democrat cosponsoring the measure.

“It will create thousands of jobs, help control fuel prices at the pump and reduce our reliance on Middle East oil and it can be accomplished with congressional authority, just as the Alaska Pipeline was nearly 40 years ago,” Hoeven said.

Added Sen. Lugar:  “The President has failed to lead but we will not stop trying to complete this critical supply line.”

House Republicans are planning to add language that would advance the pipeline project to a transportation bill already moving through that chamber. With Democrats controlling the Senate, Republicans there are also expected to use similar tactics to move their legislation forward. There is no word from the White House on whether Obama will veto any bill that contains a measure to approve the pipeline.

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Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events‚?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey‚??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co

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