Protesters decrying the proposed Keystone XL pipeline hold a banner in front of the White House in August 2011. (Shutterstock)

He said he’d do it, and it looks like he means business: President Obama is ready to flex his executive power and veto the divisive bill designed to launch construction of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would span from the U.S.-Canadian border to the Gulf Coast.

A draft of the measure landed on Obama’s desk Tuesday, and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that morning that the president would strike it down “without any drama,” as the AP reported (via ABC News):

Obama’s veto notwithstanding, the White House said there was no ‘final disposition’ on whether a permit will be issued for the pipeline, which has become a major flashpoint in the national debate over climate change. Rather, Obama is rebuffing a congressional attempt to circumvent the executive branch’s ‘longstanding process for evaluating whether projects like this are in the best interests of the country,’ Earnest said.

The move sends the politically charged issue back to Congress, where Republicans have yet to show they can muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers needed to override Obama’s veto. Sen. John Hoeven, the bill’s chief GOP sponsor, said Republicans are about four votes short in the Senate and need about 11 more in the House.

This is but one potential veto battle of many to come between Obama and the now-GOP-run Congress, so we’ll have to see about that whole drama-free bit.

Update: After President Obama carried through with the veto as expected, The Washington Post reported on other similar moves that he might make in the near future.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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