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Posts Tagged ‘Keystone Pipeline’

OBAMA FACES DEFEAT ON THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE

While much of the political world obsesses over Twitter fights and Seamus the dog, Barack Obama has set himself up for a high-profile defeat on one of the most important issues of the campaign.

The president has put his feet in cement in opposition to the Keystone oil pipeline. But on Capitol Hill, more and more Democrats are joining Republicans to force approval of the pipeline, whether Obama wants it or not.

The latest action happened Wednesday, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway — by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That’s a lot of defections.

When the House voted on the pipeline in July of last year, 47 Democrats broke with the president. Now that it’s an election year and the number is up to 69, look for Republicans to hold more pipeline votes before November. GOP leaders expect even more Democrats to join them.

Then there is the Senate. Democrats are using the filibuster to stop the pipeline, which means 60 votes are required to pass it. (Some Democrats who bitterly opposed the filibuster when Republicans used it against Obama initiatives are notably silent these days.) In a vote last month, 11 Senate Democrats stood up against Obama to vote in favor of the pipeline. Add those 11 to the Republicans’ 47 votes, and the pro-pipeline forces are just a couple of votes away from breaking Harry Reid’s filibuster.

“We’re right around the corner from actually passing it,” says a well-informed Senate source. “Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing.”

The president didn’t help his cause when he staged an odd photo-op last month, delivering a speech in Cushing, Oklahoma in front of huge stockpiles of pipes. Obama sang the praises of pipelines — “It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority,” he said — and made a big deal of his approval of a section of domestic pipeline that didn’t need his approval. But he remained unyielding on Keystone.

In the latest House vote, the pipeline measure is attached to a larger transportation bill. That now goes to a conference with the Senate, which has passed a version of the transportation measure without the Keystone provision. It’s not clear whether the pipeline will end up in the final bill. But it is certain that, whatever happens, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will force another vote on Keystone sometime.

If the pipeline wins those last couple of Senate Democrats, then Obama will be faced with a bill that passed with a veto-proof majority in the House and over a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. The president would be forced either to make good on his veto threat or sign a bill moving the pipeline forward.

If he signs the bill, Obama would surely try to save face by claiming his concerns about the pipeline’s routing and approval process had been met. But there’s no way it would be seen as anything less than a major defeat.

If Obama vetoes the pipeline, he faces an embarrassing rebuff in the House. But in the Senate, it would take 67 votes to overturn the veto, and that’s probably an insurmountable obstacle for pipeline supporters. All the president would need is 34 Democratic dead-enders to stick with him to stop the pipeline.

But Obama could prevail only at grave political cost. The rise in gas prices is a potent issue for Mitt Romney and Republicans, and it could become far more potent if prices increase in the summer. And the president will be standing alone — not just against Republicans, but against a major coalition within his own party, including Big Labor — in opposition to the effort to increase America’s energy supplies. Not a good place to be with an election around the corner.

Meanwhile, the pipeline project is going forward. This week the company that will build the pipeline submitted plans for a new route through Nebraska, where much environmental opposition has been focused. And in Lincoln, the Nebraska legislature passed, and the governor signed, a new bill that would hasten state approval of the project.

The odds are overwhelming that the Keystone pipeline will become a reality. In the end, Barack Obama has mostly hurt himself by trying to stop it.

Byron York, The Examiner’s chief political correspondent, can be contacted at byork@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears on Tuesday and Friday, and his stories and blogposts appear on washingtonexaminer.com.

House clears highway bill with pipeline mandate, thwarts Obama

Defying a White House veto threat, the House on Wednesday passed legislation that extends transportation program funding through September and mandates construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

All but 14 Republicans, with support from 69 Democrats, voted 293-127 for legislation that falls far short of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) earlier plan to move a sweeping five-year, $260 billion package.

But Boehner’s retreat serves two crucial tactical and political purposes for the Speaker. It sets up talks with the Senate on the highway bill and keeps the Keystone pipeline — a centerpiece of GOP attacks on White House energy policy — front and center ahead of the November election.

How Dumb Do They Think We Are ?

I’ve been called a fascist by communists and a communist by fascists.  I’ve been called a pagan by Christians and a Christian by pagans.  I’ve been called an optimist by pessimists and a pessimist by optimists.  All of us have been labeled by others.  We’ve all been called this by that and that by this, we’ve all had people try to insult us by how they refer to us, but when people insult our intelligence they are usually showing their ignorance. 

The actions of the second-stringers, stand-ins, and understudies from the theater of the absurd who now pass for leadership in our Republic not only insult our intelligence, they act as if the American people have the IQ of a potted plant and the attention span of someone riddled with ADD.  There is one good thing about people who insult our intelligence; they’re probably misunderestimating the true level of our understanding. 

Our President tells us that killing the Keystone Pipeline is no big deal.  Instead he tells us “However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline, they’re going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.”  Making decisions that kill the opportunity to create real jobs is offset by the jobs created by extending payments made to those who are unemployed.  That doesn’t make sense to anyone outside the beltway 

At the same time this oxymoronic newspeak pours from the White House, the valiant leaders of the loyal opposition in the House vote to deny our spendaholic President another trillion all the while knowing that they already gave him the money last year.   

You see, according to the debt increase law which was supported by all of the Republican Congressional leaders, the debt limit is automatically raised fifteen days after the president officially notifies lawmakers that the government is close to the current $15.2 trillion cap.  That is unless Congress votes to deny the borrowing increase and the President signs the bill.  This is where the Republican leaders add insult to injury by staging a symbolic vote to hold the line against an ever rising debt they already approved.  Their powerless measure passed the House with ease. Yet they knew all along it was DOA in Harry Reid’s Democratic-controlled Senate.  And even if by some miracle it was voted on and passed by the Senate, President Obama would veto it guaranteeing the increase will go through as planed and the debt will grow by another 1.2 trillion. 

While Mr. Obama may work day and night to kill projects that might actually provide some work for the rest of us he has no problem investing billions of our dollars in green energy boondoggles that turn a profit for his donors and cronies.  Then when the flimflams are about to be exposed as the money pits they are, on the eve of an election, the Energy Department which turned a blind eye to the initial foolish investment suddenly becomes involved and the announcement is delayed until after the marks, I mean voters, have cast their ballots. 

In foreign policy our Commander-in-Chief announced the date for our withdrawal from Afghanistan at the same time he announced the same type of surge he was against in Iraq.  Now he decides it’s time to negotiate with the Taliban.  Are we supposed to believe these highly dedicated, highly motivated, and religiously fanatic battle hardened warriors will rush to make concessions?  Won’t they instead hang tough, demand concessions, and pick up the pieces as our leader leads our valiant, though under-cut warriors, for the door?  Does anyone doubt that Karzai, our creature in Kabul, will be on a jumbo jet filled with American dollars before our last soldier gets home?  All this is presented as a rational settlement instead of an abject surrender and jaded political maneuver. 

There’s no inflation.  At least that’s what the Federal Government wants us to believe.   Everyone who goes to the supermarket buys gas or pays to heat their home can evaluate the reliability of that piece of government information for themselves. 

How could anyone ever see through any of this unless of course they have at least the IQ of that potted plant mentioned earlier?  This may be insulting, it may show us what the perpetually re-elected think of their constituents, but it also shows that they’re giving us an advantage.  We’re smarter than they think we are so we should be able to blind side them with organizational skills and motivational abilities far beyond what they’ll expect. 

They are counting the Tea Party out because we aren’t holding mass rallies.  They believe they’ve won the organizational battle because they were able to mobilize the occupy everywhere crowd to gather for a street party and pollute some major cities.  They believe that since the conservative vote is currently split in the GOP they will manage to nominate the next Bob Dole/John McCain moderate to play the part of the Washington Generals in a Harlem Globe Trotter game: good but never quite good enough.  In 2012 they see the Republicans, like the Washington Generals, there to provide a platform for the chosen winner to shine.   

The parties of power treat us with such disdain it’s obvious they believe we’re the sheep they work so hard to make us.  They believe Americans have been dumbed down enough and fattened with enough entitlements that we’ll barely bah bah bah as they lead us to the shearing shed one more time.  Our Progressive leaders in both parties see that election is the one that counts.  This is the election that will either drive us over the cliff into the shabby abyss of collectivist conformity or the one that will give us one last opportunity to return to limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom.  

We may not be demonstrating in the streets.  We may not be organizing boycotts.  We may not be united behind one candidate.  However, we are awake.  We are educating ourselves.  We are determined that this great experiment in human freedom shall not perish from the face of the earth.  Vote for the Constitution.  Vote for personal liberty.  Vote for economic freedom.  If we all do what we can do we will accomplish what must be done.  We will keep the faith.  We will keep the peace.  We shall overcome! 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

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