The latest action happened Wednesday, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway — by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That’s a lot of defections…

“We’re right around the corner from actually passing it,” says a well-informed Senate source. “Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing.”…

If the pipeline wins those last couple of Senate Democrats, then Obama will be faced with a bill that passed with a veto-proof majority in the House and over a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. The president would be forced either to make good on his veto threat or sign a bill moving the pipeline forward.

If he signs the bill, Obama would surely try to save face by claiming his concerns about the pipeline’s routing and approval process had been met. But there’s no way it would be seen as anything less than a major defeat.