Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I rise to make some observations about the Keystone Pipeline. President Obama has said his first priority is jobs. Here is an opportunity for the President to show it, a pipeline provision that, according to some estimates, would create thousands of jobs right away. In fact, those are all the estimates I have seen, that this is a project that is ready to go.
Here is an opportunity for the President to say he is not going to let a few radical environmentalists stand in the way of a project that will create thousands of jobs and make America more secure at the same time. The labor unions support the pipeline, the Chamber of Commerce supports the pipeline, out-of-work Americans support it, and a growing number of Democrats are expressing their support as well.
Here are a few of the comments we heard from Democrats just this very week. Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota said:
I personally think the pipeline is absolutely in the national interest. It'll help us reduce our dependence on foreign energy, at least foreign sources that are hostile to our interests.
Senator Conrad further said:
I, for one, on this side hope that this could be part of a final package and I hope that this is something we could work through in the coming hours.
If States rights are being protected and if this is going to be something maybe, that we can try to jump start the approval process, make it go more quickly.
Representative Clyburn, one of the leaders of the Democratic conference in the House:
I'm very much for the pipeline. There is no question about that.
Congress should do something, not just assist people who are struggling in a down economy or out of work, but help incentivize job creation for them at the same time. In other words, let's not just pass a bill that helps people on the benefits side; let's also include something that actually helps the private sector create the jobs Americans need for the long term. This is the balanced approach Americans want, one that extends help but also offers hope.
This is just the kind of thing we should be doing around here. Both parties like it, the labor unions like it, why in the world wouldn't we want to put it in the package?
The only reason the White House has given for opposing the pipeline provision is they would rather vote on it alone, which makes absolutely no sense. You are either for the provision or you are not. So I suggest here is a rare opportunity to do something truly positive together on a bipartisan basis at the end of the year. Let's finish this year on a truly cooperative, bipartisan note. Let's strengthen our Nation's energy security, decrease the energy we import from overseas, create American jobs right now, and let's do it all on a bipartisan basis.
As I said, there is bipartisan support for this project. We need to get it done, and we need to get it done now. The House of Representatives has been quite clear that they are not going to support a package that does not include the pipeline. Frankly, I would not be able to support a package that doesn't include the pipeline. I think this is something we could all be proud of at the end of the year, demonstrating to the American people that we can work together not only to help those who are struggling, through a continuation of the payroll tax holiday and an unemployment benefits package, but also create jobs at the same time in the private sector without a penny of the Federal Government's money by moving this pipeline along.
After all, it has undergone years of environmental studies. It is ready to go. The company is ready to hire the people just as soon as we give them the signoff.
Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
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