Senator John Hoeven today said he has offered an amendment to a majority-led jobs bill currently making its way through the U.S. Senate. The Hoeven measure would allow Congress to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would make thousands of long-term jobs available to veterans. Without his amendment, the underlying bill will add only temporary jobs lasting just 12 to 18 months, he said.
The bill as written proposes to create 20,000 temporary jobs at federal agencies, with no path or guarantee of ongoing employment. The Hoeven amendment, however, will actually help to create thousands of long-term, high-paying American jobs for veterans, thousands of whom are currently seeking energy jobs in Canada.
Speaking on the Senate floor today, Senator Hoeven cited an effort by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to place veterans in jobs across the border, where oil development and pipeline construction are advancing.
"We want American veterans to have real job opportunities in the United States," Hoeven said. "TransCanada, the company proposing to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has a program to hire former service men and women on both sides of the border, but unfortunately, American vets now have to go to Canada to get them."
The VFW owns 10 percent of VetJobs, a jobs placement company that works to find jobs, including jobs created by the Alberta leg of the Keystone XL pipeline project, for veteran and transitional active duty military. CEO Ted Daywalt recently told Fox news that delays on the U.S. leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline nixed corporate commitments he had secured to hire 8,000 veterans.
TransCanada gives a hiring preference to veterans and is also a partner in the Helmets to Hard Hats program, which trains returning veterans on both sides of the border for careers in the construction industry. According to the Perryman Group, a Houston-based consulting firm, the Keystone project will create between 15,000 and 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. during the construction phase alone, and thousands more when the pipeline is operational.
"The jobs we're talking about are good, private-sector jobs that don't expire when the money runs out and don't add to the deficit, but they do produce revenues," Hoeven said. "Why wouldn't we approve it -- for the benefit of our economy, the benefit of the American people, and the benefit of our veterans?"