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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
HomeNewsPoliticsSenate Dems Urge Obama To Sign Keystone Pipeline After Senate Approval

Senate Dems Urge Obama To Sign Keystone Pipeline After Senate Approval

keystone_pipeline_cushing_oklahoma
keystone_pipeline_cushing_oklahoma

File photo: Cushing, Oklahoma, where the Keystone pipeline was just approved by the high court.

A group of Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to sign the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline after the bill passed the Senate on Thursday.

After weeks of debate and dozens of votes on amendments, totaling more amendments than the upper chamber considered during the entire tenure of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate passed its first major legislation under the new Republican majority.

The vote passed 62-36, just shy of a veto-proof majority, with nine Democrats joining all Senate Republicans in supporting the measure. However, the legislation only needed a simple majority to pass after a cloture vote to end debate succeeded with the same number of yes votes earlier in the afternoon.

The House passed a similar bill approving the Keystone pipeline earlier this month with nearly 30 House Democrats joining with the GOP, but President Obama has promised to veto any bill that reaches his desk.

“We’re hoping the president, upon reflection, will agree to sign on to a bill that his State Department says could create up to 42,000 jobs – [that] his State Department says creates little or no impact on the environment,” Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, calling the Keystone bill “an important accomplishment for the country.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., applauded the Republican majority and called on the president to sign the bill.

“I am so pleased that bipartisan legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline has finally passed in the Senate, especially after we had the opportunity to extensively debate this issue and add dozens of amendments,” Sen. Manchin said in a statement. “It is my hope that the bill will swiftly pass through the House and that the President will defer to multiple State Department studies which have all concluded the project will have no significant impact on our environment.”

Sen. Manchin was echoed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, who is now adamantly pointing out she has been a longtime supporter of the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“I’ve long supported Keystone, because it was never a choice of whether the pipeline would be built—it was a question of where. Getting this pipeline built in the United States means creating jobs and business opportunities, and boosting America’s energy security,” Sen. McCaskill said. “Those are goals we should all be able to get behind, and while this process has taken far longer than it should have, I’m glad to see the Senate finally approve this project.”

The Missouri Democrat, who pushed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expedite the now-released report, also renewed her call to President Obama to sign the bill.

However, not all in Democratic minority were entirely happy with the process, and even some GOPers are scratching their heads at some of the amendments that failed to get in the bill.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a press conference after the cloture vote Thursday that Democrats were “grateful we had the opportunity to offer and vote on amendments, but those amendments don’t do any good for the middle class if Republicans vote them down.”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., put forward an amendment that would have required U.S. steel, iron and manufactured goods be used in the construction of the pipeline amendment, while another would have required oil transported in the pipeline be used to in the United States to reduce dependence on oil from the Middle East.

An amendment introduced by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, includes initiatives that would encourage investment in energy-and cost-saving technologies in homes, commercial buildings, and federal facilities. Another amendment introduced by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, would require a review of existing programs and financing options to help facilitate energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy retrofitting projects for schools.

Meanwhile, the House can now either consider and pass the Senate version, or to go to conference and merge the two versions into a new bill to be voted on by each chamber. Speaker John Boehner’s office said Friday morning that no decision had been made, but Senate Democrats who supported the bill say the quicker the better, because it keeps the pressure on the president.

“I am pleased the Senate passed this commonsense legislation because this project would help promote economic competitiveness and energy security for our country,” said Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who supported both the Portman and Collins amendments. “A strong energy economy is vital to both Indiana’s and our country’s economic success and critical to our national security. I hope the House will quickly pass this bill and President Obama will sign this legislation into law to end the long delay and move this important project forward.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Obama’s promise to veto the bill, but Senate Democrats are lobbying the president to change his mind. They worry public opinion is so overwhelming, they will give Republicans an opportunity to hang the issue around their necks, a price they aren’t willing to pay to appease a small left-wing environmental lobby.

According to a recent PPD Poll of 694 registered voters, 69 percent outright support construction of the pipeline, up from 65 percent measured last year. However, 72 percent support its construction when respondents are told of the administration’s own findings, including the State Department review that stated the environmental impact would be more negative absent the pipeline.

“With a majority of Americans in support of the Keystone XL pipeline’s construction, let’s move this project forward once and for all,” Sen. Manchin added.

Minority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, were absent for the vote, and though Reid’s office did not respond to a request for a comment, given his past alliance with the president Republicans would likely be four short of overriding a veto.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., sponsor of the Keystone bill, said that if Obama vetoes it and there aren’t enough votes to override, Republicans could attach approval for the Keystone to other legislation.

Hoeven said the process his legislation went through, with votes on more than 40 amendments over a two-week span, was a positive sign that things can get done under new Senate leadership.

“I’m hopeful, as I said even before we got into the debate on Keystone, that this is about getting that regular order going on other legislation as well,” Hoeven said. “And we’re hopeful that will help break through the gridlock and get more done in the Senate and for the American people.”

Written by
Staff Writing Group

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Latest comment

  • Republican Congressmen and their “Democrat” copycats are traitors. They support Communist China, a massively polluted enslaved wasteland over the American people. Canada, Communist China’s fifth column, wants to pipe the filthiest oil on earth to Texas refineries, where it will be refined for Canada and immediately shipped out to China. In the process, the government will seize private property as “eminent domain”, and pollute America’s lakes, freshwater aquifers, and streams. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of unreported “accidental spillage” will be allowed by the nightmare dirtiest oil on earth, a bitumen sludgey filth that sinks to the bottom of any water it touches and is almost impossible to clean up. All this for 35 permanent jobs and to further enrich criminal billionaires like the Koch Brothers, who would sell out America for a dollar.

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