Byline: Bill Tucker
The Keystone XL Pipeline enjoys broad bi-partisan support in the Congress. It enjoys even broader support with the American people. A poll done byABC News/ Washington Post in March found we support it by a margin of 3 to 1. Another poll done byRasmussen in April found 61% of us support building the pipeline. In November a study by thePew Research Center found 59% support for the pipeline.
A traditional Democrat stronghold, unions, also support building the Keystone XL pipeline. TheBuilding Trades Unions just this week issued a statement in support of building it. The AFL-CIO has supported the project of a couple of years now.
The U.S. State Department, a year ago, cleared the way for building the pipeline after stalling on issuing an environmental impact statement.
But President Obama does not like the Keystone Pipeline.
The President promises he will not let private industry fund and build it even if it means no job creation and the continued severing of energy dependency from the Middle East. He will veto it. Say what you will about the President but he is uncompromising in his opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) this week introduced, once again, his bill to approve of the building of the pipeline project. The difference between now and times past is that this bill will be approved by the House and head over to the Senate. Once there, it will meet up with a bill by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), which also calls for Congress to allow the pipeline to be built. The lead co-sponsor on S.1 is Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The Senate bill has 59 co-sponsors in total, including 6 Democrats.
The pipeline will finally see a vote in the Senate and it will pass. Legislation allowing the Keystone XL Pipeline will land on Obama’s desk because he no longer has Senator Harry Reid and his Democrat majority to protect him. The President will have to look Americans in the eye as he says no to allowing private industry to create jobs.
A vote in the House is expected on Friday. If it happens as planned it will come as US Steel announced layoffs at idled plants in Ohio and Texas. 756 workers who produce steel pipe and tubes will lose their jobs because US Steel says lower oil prices have depressed new oil exploration and drilling projects. A pipeline project would, no doubt, be welcome news to those laid off workers.
There are fiercely argued debates over just how many jobs building the Keystone pipeline will create. My favorite line in the debates comes from those who oppose it. They argue the project will “only” create a couple of thousand jobs. Those are the kind of statements that can only be spoken by people who have jobs. More optimistically, the administration’s State Department says the construction phase of the project would create more than 40,000 jobs and generate $2-Billion dollars in earnings. In addition to creating jobs, there is an environmental argument to be made; oil moving through a pipeline is safer and cleaner than oil being moved by rail cars.
Congressman Poe is blunt in his assessment of the situation saying, “The President is holding jobs hostage to appease an extreme faction of the environmental lobby.”
The President once famously said “elections have consequences”. Yep and so do policies. American voters are clearly not happy with the policies being pursued by this Administration and they delivered some consequences of their own in November resulting from their displeasure with Obama’s policies.Perhaps President Obama might want to heed some old Wall Street trader wisdom, “the trend is your friend” and recognize signing a bill to create jobs might bend some trend back his direction.