The Lack of Will

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February 13, 2014

I have to be missing something.

You ever feel like you are not getting the whole story? You ever look at a situation that appears so painfully obvious to everyone else, but for some strange and indescribable reason that other person is just hell bent on going a different direction? Do you ever wonder if some people take a stand against something for no good reason other than just to be obstinate?

I believe that must be what is going on with the Keystone XL pipeline. It is obvious to everyone that this project is the right thing to do for the country, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what the president is waiting for. There simply can be no reasonable explanation.



Let’s recap the merits of the project. The pipeline would connect Canada to the Gulf Coast, initially bringing more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day to American refineries. It would also support 42,000 jobs. The construction phase alone would pay American workers $2 billion to build it. By 2030, the pipeline could be producing twice the oil we buy today from the Persian Gulf. The president has reviewed this project for five years without giving final sign off, arguing he wanted to study it more to ensure the project did not have a negative impact on the environment.

This week, the State Department released a report saying that the Keystone pipeline would have no negative impact on the environment. A few days later, the president’s former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he also thought the pipeline should be built, and that the oil it would carry to the Gulf Coast would be a big win for the country’s economy. For some time now, many in the organized labor community have been on record supporting the project, along with an army of employers, manufacturers, producers, policy makers and anyone else trying to increase American jobs.

For the president, this is a no-brainer on substance. It is a plug-and-play solution to create jobs, encourage increased market investment, promote energy independence, and help our trade deficit. It would help fuel a renaissance of American manufacturing. His own people cleared it environmentally.


For the president, this is also a no brainer on politics. Unions support the pipeline, it helps democrats running for election and it is sweet music compared with the job-sucking sound Obamacare is making right now according to this week’s report by the Congressional Budget Office detailing how his health reform will cut the equivalent of two million full-time jobs in 2017.

Seriously, what am I missing? I don’t get it. House Republicans this week wanted to push for approval of Keystone as part of debt limit negotiations but pulled that back for the time being, assuming the president simply would not budge on this.

Is this the same president that just last week chastised Congress for not budging? Didn’t he make it perfectly clear to all of us Americans that he was not going to let that grumpy old Congress stand in his way of getting his agenda done? Didn’t he say he would simply use his pen to set policy for the nation if the Congress refused to do so?


Why not use that pen now? Why not use it on an issue that will prioritize the American worker and the American employer? Why not use it on an issue that his very own people scrubbed and have said is environmentally sound? Why not use that pen on an issue that helps his political allies in a tough election year? What am I missing?

I tell you what; forget we asked that last question. Instead, just one final question for the president: can we borrow your pen?