This has been a rough week for conservatives. Still recovering from the possible fallout with female voters from Rush Limbaugh, supporters were also disappointed to learn that Andrew Breitbart’s much talked about bombshell video that would change the election in the GOP’s favor turned out to be footage that aired in 2008 on PBS. Yesterday, they watched as the Senate voted down the Keystone pipeline.
Republican Senator John Hoeven amended a transportation authorization bill to include the pipeline. The GOP has been attaching the pipeline to everything hoping to get it approved. It was also rejected in January after they attempted to attach it to the payroll tax extension. I’m sure they would have attached it to the Blunt Amendment last week, if THAT amendment itself were not already an attachment to a transportation bill.
So what’s the hold-up? The GOP will say (and has), Obama. The facts are that Obama has already approved the southern end of the pipeline, but has issues (as have many) with the original route’s path in Nebraska. That was too close to the Sand Hills aquifer, a major source of fresh water for the state among other environmental concerns. Alex Porbaix, the president of oil and pipelines for TransCanada understands this and said in regards to President Obama, “He made it very clear that it was not being denied on the merits. And he encouraged us to reapply.”
TransCanada has since announced plans to re-file its application within the next two months with an alternate route by later this year (expect this story to keep coming back as if it’s from a George Romero film).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had this response yesterday: “At a moment when tensions are rising in the Middle East, millions of Americans are struggling to find work and millions more are struggling with the rising cost of gas, Democrat opposition to this legislation shows how deeply out of touch they are with the concerns of middle-class Americans.”
As representative Henry Waxman pointed out after the Senate vote, “Even if we produced more oil in the United States, that’s not going to lower the price of gasoline here.” Waxman went on to explain that oil is priced on the world market (if you think gas prices are bad now, imagine where they will go if we went to war with Iran) something McConnell should listen to.
I’m more intrigued by the jobs claims made by the GOP in regards to Keystone. Let’s compare the numbers with President Obama’s The American Jobs Act. My home state of Iowa would have benefited like this under the AJA:
- 60,000 firms would have received a payroll tax cut to 3.1%
- $385,900,000 to create 5,000 jobs for highway/transit modernization
- $287,200,000 to support 4,100 educator jobs
- $132,600,000 to support 1,700 jobs for school infrastructure
- $20,000,000 to revitalize communities, creating construction jobs
- $56,700,000 in funding for community colleges
- Pathways Back to Work Fund: create up to 800 adult and 2,300 youth jobs
You can find out how the Act would have affected your state directly.
Now, lets take a look at the Keystone Pipeline. Everyone has heard the GOP march out the jobs number of 20,000 as if it’s a show pony.
Here’s the reality the GOP omits (they do that a lot): TransCanada counts each job on a yearly basis. That means if the pipeline employed 10,000 people for two years, TransCanada considers that 20,000 jobs (only 5,000 of those are estimated to be American jobs by the State Department).
How many permanent jobs would the pipeline create? TransCanada has that number in the hundreds. Sounds like the GOP are putting all their eggs in one basket…that has no bottom.
The pipeline offers less jobs to the nation than the AJA would have added to the state of Iowa alone. So, where is the jobs act?
The American Jobs Act won the majority on it’s Senate vote with 50-49 in favor but fell short of the 60 votes needed to keep it in play, due to the unanimous Republican votes against it.
Just to get this straight: McConnell and the GOP have voted against appropriately taxing the wealthy, female contraception coverage and the president’s jobs plan, all issues that the American people have favored. Who’s out of touch again, Mr. McConnell?