Obama Threatens Another Veto for Pipeline

President Obama to Veto Keystone Bill
President Obama to Veto Keystone Bill

On the very day that Congress reconvened, President Obama spoke out about his intentions to veto the latest version of the Keystone pipeline bill. This pronouncement escalates the standoff that has continued for over six years as lawmakers, divided along party line, have debated whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks of such a venture. The GOP has been very clear that this issue would be the first order of business for the 114th congress.

Related: Keystone Showdown Likely for New Year

Until now, the president has been vague about his intentions and as late as Monday was not speaking publicly about this. But that all changed on Tuesday when White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, announced that a veto is likely.

Earnest told USA Today that “I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it either. And that’s because there is already a well established process in place to consider whether or not infrastructure projects like this are in the best interests of the country.

Understandably, the President's decision has been difficult and disappointing news for Republicans who had hoped that their newly elected majority status would change the outcome.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky said that, “The president threatening to veto the first bipartisan infrastructure bill of the new Congress must come as a shock to the American people who spoke loudly in November in favor of bipartisan accomplishments. Once again the president is standing in the way of a shovel-ready jobs project that would help thousands of Americans find work.

Read more in usatoday.com

photo credit: Barack Obama via photopincc

Keystone Pipeline Set for Vote this Friday

Congress will Vote on Keystone Pipeline
Congress will Vote on Keystone Pipeline

As Congress heads back into session, GOP leaders wasted no time in submitting the latest version of the bill that would approve additional construction on the Keystone pipeline. The bill should come to a vote in the House as early as Friday before heading to the Senate early next week.

With all the controversy surrounding this construction, it has been quite a battle to get to this point. The application for this disputed section of the pipeline was submitted over six years ago and has been approved by the house many times. The difference now is that with a newly elected Republican majority, the bill is expected to easily pass both houses. The White House continues to remain silent about whether President Obama will veto the bill, though he recently shared his skepticism about its value to American consumers.

Related: Keystone Showdown Likely for the New Year

The bill’s author, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), said in a statement that, “By passing this bill in the House and Senate with bipartisan votes, we can help provide the political muscle the president needs to finally approve this piece of critical transportation infrastructure, which will contribute thousands of jobs to the national economy and further our push toward national energy security.

The construction of this pipeline is crucial to transport the record amounts of oil (830,000 b/d ) being produced in the Bakken region to the refineries on the Gulf Coast. Currently, just under 70% of all the oil produced in North Dakota is transported out of the state by rail.  The Keystone XL Pipeline could alleviate some of the rail congestion being caused by the transport of oil, which would free up the rail service in North Dakota and across the midwest for the transport of other goods, primarily agricultural.

Read more at wsj.com

photo credit: DHuizcc