Republicans formally took control of the United States Senate on Tuesday, free at last to indulge in their love of sweet, sweet, crude and its associated lobbyists — a love that has been forbidden by their overly-strict totalitarian dad, Barack Obama, who made no secret that he did not approve. The GOP has been waiting eight long years, staring longingly out the window, so they’ve had plenty of time to think about the best way to approach this promising courtship. We thought they might keep their love under wraps the way they’ve been yammering on about bipartisan cooperation and compromise, leading us to think they’d start their new session with something Father Barry likes. Maybe service dogs for veterans? The Little Old Lady Street-Crossing Assistance Act of 2015? National Fuzzy Kitten Appreciation Day? Let’s check in!
Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would force the federal government to approve the [Keystone XL] pipeline, the first bill of the new Senate. The bill has 60 co-sponsors, including six Democrats, and its authors say they are confident they can get at least three other Democratic votes. That’s more than enough votes to approve the bill in the Senate, though it’s not enough to override an impending presidential veto.
An issue that brought about a contentious debate and failed vote only a few months earlier seems like an odd choice for a unity bill, but what do we know? We are not A Expert like oil lobbyist extraordinaire Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute. Mr. Gerard seems thrilled that the Senate is rushing to take up the pipeline, with the only potential danger that President Obama might decide to politicize the issue by having an opinion and acting on it.
The oil industry’s top lobbyist said President Obama’s veto of a Keystone XL bill will hurt his relationship with Congress.
“It doesn’t bode well for relationships between the White House and Capitol Hill,” American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said Tuesday.
Gerard’s comments came minutes after White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama would use his veto power if the bill passes both chambers of Congress, a result that Republican leaders believe is all but certain.
That’s right: After months of speculation, President B. Barry Bamz has officially announced that he will not stand for all the American energy independence and job growth that the Republicans say would come with the Keystone XL pipeline, and he will veto the authorization bill and probably mulch it for his hippie garden if it gets to his desk. With one careless stroke of the pen, Obama could crush the spirits of not only the fresh-faced, optimistic Republicans who just want to bring about Positive Change, but could also shatter the image that Mr. Gerard and his fellow industry boosters that America remains the land of opportunity (for oil companies).
The White House argued the bill could circumvent a process led by the State Department that governs approval of a pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
“In doing so, it would cut short consideration of important issues relevant to the national interest,” the administration said in a Statement of Administration Policy.
Look, Mr. President, do you really believe Republican lawmakers would rush ahead on a project that benefits energy companies if they thought for even a minute that it could harm Ordinary AmericansTM? Sure, the bill would essentially kill a pending lawsuit in Nebraska challenging the pipeline’s proposed route, but that was probably filed by Elizabeth Warren in a fake mustache. She’ll do anything to bring down this last chance for American greatness.
“There’s going to be an energy hearing on Wednesday, and right now, the Republicans say they’re going to move forward on the Keystone pipeline,” Warren said Monday. “If we’re going to move forward on something how about something that more of us can agree on?”
“A bill that’s about energy conservation, energy efficiency, and about jobs and has strong bipartisan support. There is a place we can start.”
The GOP’s decision to plunge into the 114th Congress with the Keystone authorization bill, which would bring the nation closer to having a conduit of sludgy tar-sands oil that could suddenly burst and poison the high plains water table, portrays the depth of Republicans’ political acumen, but disappoints in one key regard. By choosing to introduce only one such bill, the party has blown the opportunity to present the American people with the full, uncensored view of their vision for the country.
The Keystone bill should be nestled into a bouquet of sweet-smelling conservative ideas on how to bring real American values back to Washington. It’s like Republicans have forgotten how much their voters love package deals, whether composed of ideologically-driven legislation or monuments bus tours that pick up right at their hotels.
The one and only Chuck Todd said it best, though in the middle of a cloud of flagrantly liberal disparagement of Keystone: “It’s certainly no contract with America.” If House Republicans had come to their senses in time to vote Newt Gingrich back into the House Speaker’s office on Tuesday, maybe they’d have a chance to match the greatness of the Republican takeover in the mid-’90s. At this rate, they’ll be fighting veto threats from President Warren by the time they get around to criminalizing sunshine as a threat to the American energy industry.
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