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Public Statements

Keystone XL Pipeline

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Yesterday, Republicans drew attention to one of the greatest fumbles of this administration yet, and this is astonishing. I don't know how many Americans are familiar with the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, but this is an issue every single American is soon going to learn a lot about. The Keystone XL Pipeline is the single largest shovel-ready project in our entire country--the single largest shovel-ready project in our entire country. It would transport oil from Canada--our friendly neighbor to the north--to the gulf coast. It is privately funded, so it would not cost the taxpayer a dime, and we are told that its approval would lead to the creation of 20,000 jobs, not some other time but immediately, right now.

This project is enormous. It is a huge job creator, and it is ready to go. Labor unions love this project. Folks in the Heartland love this project. The Chamber of Commerce loves this project. But here is the problem: President Obama is getting heat from his base over this project, especially from the very young and very liberal voters he will need knocking on doors before November. So the State Department now says they are going to delay the approval--even though previously they were seemingly ready to approve it after a 3-year review that has already occurred, including two exhaustive environmental evaluations.

Here is the bottom line. The President has said time and time again that his top priority is jobs. Yet here we have the single largest shovel-ready project in the country ready to go, and he is delaying its approval--interestingly enough--until after the election next year. He is saying he doesn't care so much about jobs in States such as Nebraska--that he doesn't think he will carry next year--so he can keep the enthusiasm up in States he hopes to carry. So I think it is pretty clear the President cares less about this particular boon for job creation than his own job preservation, and it is wrong.

There is no reason whatsoever to delay this project and these jobs by another day. As the President recently put it, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves what is not just best for me but what is best for us. What is the best way to grow the economy and create jobs? It was President Obama who said that. That is why Republicans are proposing legislation today that would require the President either to approve this massive job-creating project within 60 days or to explain clearly why he doesn't think it is in the national interest to do so. We will give the President 60 days--not after next year's election but 60 days--to decide why this should not be approved and explain it to us. We think the people who want to start hiring deserve action or a straightforward explanation from the President himself as to why he opposes it.

Get this pipeline going right now or get out of the way.

I yield the floor.

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