NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Congress moved closer on Thursday to voting on bills that would approve the enormous Keystone XL pipeline amid statements of support from both Republicans and Democrats, and a rallying cry by proponents that the project could get the go-ahead without presidential approval.
Keystone supporters in the House readied a bill for a vote as early as Friday while the pipeline's backers in the Senate said they have enough support in the wake of the Republican mid-term election victory to force a vote next Tuesday.
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North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven, a leading backer of the pipeline, sponsored the Senate bill, and issued a statement early afternoon Thursday predicting approval.
"We now have votes scheduled in both chambers of Congress, but regardless of the outcome, President Obama has signaled strongly that he may veto my bill if it passes," Hoeven said.
"If he does veto it, however, we aren't finished. We'll pass it as either part of broader energy legislation or as an amendment to another must-pass bill, either in the lame duck or in the new Congress," he said.
If the bill becomes law, the President would not have to sign a cross-border permit because Congress will have authorized it under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, said Don Canton, a spokesman for Hoeven.
Canton said he expects the Senate to vote on the bill, S.2280, next Tuesday, following the House vote on an identical bill. Senate supporters include Democrat Mary Landrieu, who faces a runoff challenge from Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy, who has sponsored the House bill.
"There's an agreement to bring Senator Hoeven's bill up in the Senate and there's a vote scheduled for Tuesday," Canton said.