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Mr. HARPER. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The President has spent a lot of time during the last 3 months traveling around the country these many months demanding that Congress put aside party differences and pass the bill, referring to his $447 billion so-called jobs bill. But if the President were to get off the campaign trail and focus on the facts, he would realize that House Republicans have been advancing a pro-growth agenda that creates jobs without expanding the Federal Government's role.
The House of Representatives has voted numerous times this year in the 112th Congress to increase American oil production, which would put Americans back to work, reduce our country's dependence upon foreign oil, and lower prices at the pump. And I ask you to think back to when the President took office. The average price for a gallon of gas in this country was $1.83. We can only barely remember such a time. These are steps that we can take that can turn that around.
Those bills that we did pass out of the House would speed up the permitting process for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct more offshore oil and gas leases, direct the Department of the Interior to proceed with exploration and production in the areas estimated to contain the most oil and gas, and eliminate this administration's bureaucratic delays that have stalled offshore energy production in the Outer Continental Shelf.
Further, the House has voted multiple times to push for a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline application was filed more than 3 years ago, and a final decision on whether to let the pipeline go forward is long, long overdue.
In his first term in office, the President has talked about the need for energy independence. Keystone XL could help provide the United States with the certainty of almost a million barrels of oil a day; and that oil comes from our friends and largest trading partner, Canada, not the Middle East.
At a time when the President has tasked three aircraft carriers and strike groups with protecting the Strait of Hormuz, wouldn't approving this new source of friendly oil be just good, plain common sense.
The President has struggled with turning the economy around since taking office 3 years ago, and his speeches often center on the subject of jobs. If approved today, the Keystone XL project would create 20,000 construction jobs and an estimated 100,000 indirect jobs during the life of its operation for Americans who desperately need them.
Look at these 20,000 jobs that are there that are held up. You know, I think back to my late father. His first job as a petroleum engineer was in Tinsley Field in Yazoo County, Mississippi. Those jobs matter to families. It's time to move forward and approve this.
Instead of issuing the necessary permits to begin construction of the pipeline and putting American families and Americans to work, the administration is in the third year, almost 4 years now, of dragging its feet through bureaucratic delays and indecision. It can only be for political reasons.
Pro-business groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Chamber of Commerce are supporting Keystone XL to give a much needed boost to the economy. Even pro-labor groups are supporting Keystone XL because they know it will create jobs. Americans across the country are asking this President to approve this project. They realize its importance, and they deserve to be answered.
The Keystone XL pipeline is just one example of how House Republicans have been working to promote job creation without the need for stimulus money. Today it is the most pressing. Every day that the President kicks the can down the road is another day without the jobs, and another day without the relief from Middle Eastern oil, and another day that Americans should be asking this administration and this White House, Where are the jobs?
With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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