Fight Over Keystone Pipeline Could Be First Confrontation Between Obama, Congress In 2015

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.

"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," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua, adding that it remains unclear whether the Republicans will have the votes needed to override a veto.

Read more from Matthew Rustling at Xinhua

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Analysis & Political Strategy