Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-2160
Senate Democrats Reject Keystone Construction; Side with Obama Instead of Constituents
Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said today that Senate Democrats sided with President Obama instead of American families by voting against Senator John Hoeven's (R-ND) amendment to the Boxer-Inhofe highway bill, which allows Congress to overturn President Obama's rejection of the Keystone pipeline and approve the project immediately.
"Today Senate Democrats decided to stand with President Obama and his far left global warming allies by voting against the construction of the Keystone pipeline," Senator Inhofe said. "I hope these Democrats feel good about saying 'no' to the tens of thousands of jobs, lower gas prices, and the energy security that the pipeline would bring. For all his phony reelection rhetoric about an 'all-of-the above' approach, Politico reported today that President Obama has been pressuring Senate Democrats to withdraw their support. Instead of putting American jobs and gas prices first, he's clearly trying to avoid a PR disaster, as several members of his own party have come to understand the importance of the Keystone pipeline for our economy.
"Of course, Majority Leader Reid has got the President's back. Just as he did during the vote to stop EPA's destructive greenhouse gas regulations, Senator Reid allowed an amendment that would give Democrats the chance to appear like they support the Keystone pipeline, while ensuring that the pipeline never gets built. This 'cover amendment' sponsored by Senator Wyden, actually creates new barriers and further delays to the construction of the pipeline, and it keeps the decision in the hands of the President who has no intention of approving it. It's just unfortunate that so many Democrats caved to the pressure. Even so, a majority in the United States Senate supported building the pipeline.
"Approving this project immediately is not just about creating tens of thousands of jobs. With international tensions running high over Iran's nuclear weapons program, a rejection of Keystone is reckless to the safety and security of the United States and sends the wrong signal to hostile countries - that America's energy security needs can and will be held hostage by radical environmentalists.
"But the fact that President Obama had to go to such lengths to keep his party in line shows that there is still strong bipartisan support to overturn his rejection of this pipeline as well as his destructive war on affordable energy - and we will continue the fight to get the pipeline built."