Senate 4 votes short on Keystone

Washington (CNN)The Senate is about four votes short of enough to override a veto by President Barack Obama on a measure that would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, Sen. John Hoeven says.

The North Dakota Republican who is sponsoring the bill that would take the decision on whether to allow the project to move forward out of the hands of the State Department made his comments during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Obama will veto Keystone bill

The President has said he objects to the Keystone legislation because it takes the decision out of the hands of the executive branch.

The chamber’s 54 Republicans are all expected to support the bill, as well as nine Democrats. But that’s not enough to achieve the two-thirds majority that looks necessary after Obama said last week that he’d veto the measure.

“Right now we’ve got about 63 [votes],” Hoeven said. “But we’re going to the floor with an open amendment process, trying to foster more bipartisanship … so that we can pass this measure and other measures and either override the veto or attach the bill to other legislation that will get 67 votes.”

One Democrat said on the program that he doesn’t expect that to happen.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said, “It’s clear that there will not be a veto override.”

The House approved the legislation green-lighting construction of the 1,179-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which must be approved by the State Department because it crosses international borders, last week.

New Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it’ll be the first issue the chamber tackles under his leadership — immediately setting up a confrontation with Obama and testing the dynamics that will exist in the last two years of his presidency, with a fully GOP-controlled Congress in place.