GOP Tying Election Hopes To Keystone Support

The bill, introduced today by Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and David Vitter (La.), would allow TransCanada to build and operate the pipeline, defying President Obama's decision last month to deny its construction.

A large group of Republicans in the Senate have united on a measure to get the Keystone XL pipeline approved.

The bill, introduced today by Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and David Vitter (La.), would allow TransCanada to build and operate the pipeline, defying President Obama’s decision last month to deny its construction. Despite that setback, the group of Senators believe they have the authority to green-light the project under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

With gas prices slowly rising, proponents of the pipeline argue that it would reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil by carrying an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Yet Obama and his administration have objected to it, citing environmental concerns. In fact, the proposed route of the pipeline would take it over a highly sensitive region in Nebraska known as the Sand Hills.

In acknowledgement of that, the GOP legislation requires the State Department to work with the State of Nebraska on finding an alternative route for the project within 30 days. The bill has the blessing of Nebraska’s Junior Senator, Mike Johanns.

“This pipeline is not only a national priority because of the energy and jobs it will bring, it’s also a Nebraska priority,” he said. “I believe we must move the project forward while still allowing Nebraska and TransCanada the time they need to find the right route through our state and this legislation does that.”

Despite the GOP’s support, the legislation faces steep odds. The bill has only one Democratic co-sponsor, Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and the administration seems less than eager to re-litigate the issue.

When asked today to comment on the bill, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney effectively dismissed it — saying he had no opinion on it. Carney later suggested that “political partisan reasons” drove Republicans to attach the bill to a payroll tax cut extender in December.

But fueled by recent polling data showing that a majority of Americans disagree with the President’s decision, Republicans will likely continue to press for the pipeline throughout this election year.

It remains to be seen whether the handful of Republicans that have yet to sign on — Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) — will do so.

Tags: , , , ,

Geoff Holtzman
Geoff Holtzman is Talk Radio News Service's Deputy Bureau Chief. As one of TRNS's primary correspondents, he helps cover the White House and Capitol Hill. Geoff also covered the 2012 presidential campaign, following the candidates to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere. In the process, he learned that not all Motel 6's are created equal. Follow Geoff on Twitter @Geoff_Holtzman.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Sec. Carter Announces Flexible Hybrid Electronic Initiative

Flexible hybrid electronics are not a new development, but the initative will “focus on bringing these technologies down the cost curve.”






The World in 2:00 – August 28, 2015

The World in 2:00

Facing December elections and a collapsing economy, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has closed the border with Colombia and ordered thousands deported.






WH: Gun Laws Wouldn’t Have Stopped Virginia Shooter, But Could Save Others

“There are similarly shocking acts of violence that don’t get this attention that could be prevented if Congress, or at least if so many members of Congress, frankly, weren’t scared of the NRA,” Earnest said.






White House On Iran Deal: We’ve Got The Momentum

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

Earlier Friday, the White House received its 30th vote in its ongoing efforts to preserve the Iran nuclear agreement.






Virginia Teen Sentenced To 11 Years For Assisting Islamic State

Ali Shukri Amin confessed to running the @Amreekiwitness Twitter account, which educated people on how to use bitcoin to covertly fund IS.






Appeals Court Reverses Ruling Against NSA

NSA

Back in 2013, a lower court’s decision ordered the NSA to stop the bulk collection of phone records, but the order was delayed while the government weighed its next move.