Obstructionist: President Will Veto Keystone Bill

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Defying the will of the American people, President Obama has already decided that he will veto the Keystone Pipeline XL bill should it come across his desk. The Keystone bill is one of the first orders of business for the new Republican-controlled Senate, but it is doubtful that Mitch McConnell can gather the 67 votes needed to override the president’s pen.

“If this bill passes this Congress,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, “the president wouldn’t sign it.”

The bill is co-sponsored by 60 Senators, and reports have it that three others will vote for it when it goes to the floor. It would approve the development of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would be used to transport oil from Alberta to the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Obama has said that he wants a more thorough investigation of the project and its environmental impacts before he would be willing to sign off on it. Of course, the State Department and the EPA have been “investigating” the plans for the last six years. Meanwhile, Canadian officials are growing impatient.

House Speaker John Boehner slammed the announcement, insisting that it was “simply another sign that President Obama is hopelessly out of touch and has no plans to listen to the American people or champion their priorities.” Hmm, sounds like someone else I know, but I suppose that’s a discussion for another day. Regardless of Boehner’s allegiances to conservatism, he’s right on this one. Polls have shown that 72 percent of Americans support the building of the pipeline.

And why wouldn’t they? At a time when our president should be looking for every way possible to open the door for new jobs, the pipeline will provide at least 40,000 of them. Many of these are in the construction sector, providing work for both highly-skilled and nonskilled workers. The argument that these jobs are only temporary is a non-starter. Wouldn’t it be better to let people work for a couple of years than to not let them work at all?

Environmental Impact Minimal

The main argument against the pipeline, of course, comes from the environmentalists. But Obama’s State Department has already determined that the Keystone XL would have a minimal negative effect on the environment. The hard-left liberals point to the carbon emissions of the Alberta oil sands as a reason to oppose the project, but they seem to ignore one simple fact: Canada is going to extract that oil one way or the other. The only question is which country will benefit economically, China or the U.S.?

Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have gone out of their way to express their desire to work with Democrats for the next two years. Too far out of their way, many might say. So this is a real test for the president. No one expects him to cave on immigration or Obamacare, but this is a good project that already has bipartisan support. If he vetoes the bill, it should send a clear signal to Republicans: I’m not budging. On anything.

And if that’s the case, the GOP needs to take off the gloves.