The Senate still needs four votes to pass veto-proof legislation to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Sen. John Hoeven, who sponsored the legislation, said Sunday.
Hoeven, R-N.D., told “Fox News Sunday” the GOP-controlled Senate remains shy of the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto.
All of the chamber's 54 Republicans and nine Democrats are expected to support the legislation, which needs a two-thirds majority to override a veto.
“But we're going to the floor with an open amendment process, trying to foster more bipartisanship,” Hoeven said.
He also suggested Senate Republicans might attach the bill to other legislation that would get 67 votes.
The upper chamber could hold a preliminary vote on the legislation as early as Monday.
The Obama administration early last week repeated that President Obama intends to veto the legislation should it reach his desk before a State Department study on the issue is completed.
Hoeven suggested that Obama has stalled the project since shortly after taking office in 2009, through repeated State Department studies.
“He’s delayed this project for more than six years. America won World War II in less than six years, so clearly he’s trying to defeat the project with endless delays,” he told Fox.
The GOP-led House last week passed legislation to build the pipeline.
The administration also objects to the legislation because it takes the decision about Keystone away from the executive branch.
One of the administration’s other principal arguments for not approving completion of the pipeline, which would carry crude Canadian oil through the heartland to Gulf Coast refiners, was resolved Friday.
The Nebraska Supreme Court cleared the way for the pipeline to be built in that state.
Both sides have argued about whether the pipeline would indeed be a jobs creator. Supporters refer to a State Department report stating it would create roughly 42,000 jobs, while critics argue many of those jobs will be temporary.