The U.S. House of Representatives is to vote on a bill that funds transportation programs through the end of the fiscal year. A section of the measure would move the permit process for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline from the U.S. State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Keystone XL is designed to carry tar sands oil across the U.S.-Canadian border and therefore needs U.S. federal approval to proceed. TransCanada, the company behind the project, is moving ahead with a branch of the project in the United States.
The White House said it "strongly opposed" the bill. The administration contends that the House measure would "circumvent a longstanding process" for cross-border pipelines, noting the formal details of Keystone XL haven't been determined.
U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., said U.S. President Barack Obama was "on the wrong side of energy security, on the wrong side of private job creation and on the wrong side of addressing high gas prices."
Obama rejected similar Republican efforts regarding the pipeline. TransCanada can reapply for a presidential permit once it decides on a route for the project through Nebraska.