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House Sends Keystone XL Pipeline Measure To Obama Despite Veto Threat

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., left, clasps hands with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., sponsor of the Senate's Keystone XL pipeline bill version, on Wednesday as lawmakers gather to urge President Obama to sign the legislation approving expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline. The House passed the Senate's version of the bill Wednesday afternoon.

Updated at 5:44 p.m.

The House, in a 270-152 vote today, approved the Keystone XL pipeline project and sent the measure to President Obama who has said he will veto it.

NPR's Juana Summers tells our Newscast unit this isn't likely to be the last standoff between the GOP-controlled Congress and the White House on energy issues. They are also likely to clash on the president's climate rules aimed at cutting carbon pollution.

Republicans had made approving the Keystone XL pipeline one of their top priorities when they took control of Congress in January. Twenty-nine of the House's 188 Democrats also voted for the bill.

The vote follows one in the Senate on Jan. 29 to approve the project despite a presidential veto threat. The House already had voted to approve a version of the Keystone XL measure Jan. 9. Today's measure endorsed the Senate's changes, which added language saying that climate change was real, and that oil sands should not be exempt from a spill-cleanup tax, The Associated Press reported.

Republicans do not appear to have enough votes to override an Obama veto.

As NPR previously reported, the pipeline is "a hot-button political issue — with politicians from both parties, some unions and energy companies supporting its approval, while environmental groups, some Nebraska landowners and some liberal Democrats oppose it."

There's a wide gulf in the number of jobs the two sides estimate that the project would create: Supporters say the number is 40,000; opponents cite one estimate that the $8 billion project would create just 35 permanent jobs.

The U.S. State Department has been reviewing the pipeline for more than six years, working to determine whether the project to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is in the national interest. Congressional Republicans want to circumvent that years-long process and grant the pipeline a permit immediately.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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