Sen Hoeven vows Keystone XL pipeline will be built

Despite watching his cosponsored bill fall just one vote shy of the 60 needed to pass, the leading Senate Republican supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline remains optimistic about the project's future.

Appearing Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., told co-host Bill Hemmer that "we're going to win this thing on the merits.

"It's about energy. It's about jobs. It's about economic growth. It's about national security by having energy security in this country," Hoeven said. "And the American people overwhelming support it."

With the project still mired in a State Department review process, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged "this will be an early item on the agenda" in the next session when the GOP has complete control of Congress.

Asked whether he expects President Obama to block any bill successfully passed by the new Congress, Hoeven noted "actions speak louder than words. You don't hold up a project for six years if you support it. So clearly, he's trying to defeat it with delays… so yes, I do expect he'll veto it."

But pressed over whether a presidential would kill the pipeline, Hoeven struck as defiant tone: "We may get to the 67 votes. But if not, we'll combine it with other energy legislation or maybe an appropriations measure to make sure we have the 67 votes we need to be veto-proof."