American Elephants


Opposition to Keystone Pipeline is a Big Loser for Obama by The Elephant's Child

The House of Representatives passed legislation that extends transportation funding through September. Attached to the bill is a mandate for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. President Obama threatened to veto, but 69 Democrats abandoned the president to vote with the Republicans.The bill passed in the House 293 – 127. That is a significant number of defections.

Speaker John Boehner said” “The House is on record again in support of the Keystone XL pipeline — a project President Obama blocked, personally lobbied against, then tried to take credit for, and now says he’ll veto. There’s no telling where the president stands from one day to the next on Keystone, but he knows the pipeline has broad and bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people.”

President Obama was widely criticized for his opposition to the pipeline, and his objections had little support in fact. It was a major affront to the Canadians, and has certainly not improved relations with our closest neighbors. There are 20,000 jobs n prospect, many in construction, many permanent, and many spin-off jobs in the surrounding economy. The pipeline had been approved by the State Department and vetted by every applicable agency, but the Greens are opposed, because they are opposed to fossil fuels.

A lot of Democrats up for re-election are well aware of how popular the Keystone XL is, and support for the Keystone is growing in the Senate. In a vote last month 11 Democrats joined the Republicans 47 votes, which is not far from the 60 required to break Harry Reid’s filibuster. People want this thing.

This puts Obama in a very difficult position. If he chooses to veto, the veto would probably be upheld in the Senate, as overriding the veto would take 67 votes. But attempting to stop it would hurt Obama, who has already been badly damaged by his earlier intransigence. Obama may believe that Americans don’t know anything about  the problem, and won’t notice, but that would be a bad gamble.

An inevitability to be much desired.


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