By Sabrina Fang
Reject, turn down, throw out, dismiss – these are the words middle class Americans heard today when President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline. With one stroke of a pen, an opportunity was wasted to foster bipartisanship in Washington, 42,000 people were denied jobs and the promise of a secure energy future was delayed. It was a pure political move to appease a vocal minority whose interests are not based on the facts. And sadly, the nation is losing out on an opportunity to get ahead in the global energy race. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who led the bipartisan effort to get the president this bill, said this in USA Today:
“When we don’t seize on this potential, it’s another notch in the belt for competitors like China, which now consumes more energy than we do, produces more coal than we do, and is the world’s leading manufacturer. So that’s who wins with a veto: bureaucrats, extremist environmentalists and the Chinese. Meanwhile, the American worker and the unions that represent them? Canada, our dear ally and top trading partner? The middle-class families the president claims to be committed to helping? They’re all left out in the cold.”
Even members of the president’s own party are frustrated and disappointed. Senator Joe Manchin (D- W.Va.) said the veto was a mistake.
“You had nine democrats, it was a bipartisan bill. This toxic atmosphere to have a bipartisan bill, moderate democrats working with our friends on the republican side and passing something. The president has got to make a decision on looking — when we’re working together, can he work with us. We’re not going to go off the skids and work on the extremes. We’ll find the middle, if you will and move forward. This bill is very important. We just had a train accident in West Virginia as you know and we’ve been told, and basically I know, that if you move this oil by pipeline, it’s safer for the environment and safer for the.” (Fox News)
Despite today’s veto, the president still has the ability to put people over politics and end the saga that has dragged on for more than six years by approving KXL on his own. The administration’s analysis of the project is over and the facts and science back approval of the pipeline. There is still time for leadership and positive action to enhance America’s energy infrastructure. It is time for the White House to stand up for the good paying middle class jobs the project would create. It is time to build. Approve it now!