Keystone XL: Every Job Matters

On the same day that the Washington Post gave President Obama “Two Pinocchios” for his claims about jobs on Keystone XL, the president doubled down and said the pipeline will only mean 50 permanent jobs. This number, however, ignores the thousands of jobs needed for construction of the pipeline and all the jobs associated with it. As the Post states, “the president shouldn’t pick and choose how he cites job-creation numbers.”

Furthermore, just a day after President Obama said that Keystone XL jobs were a “blip,” he is in Chattanooga, Tennessee delivering a speech on “Middle-Class Jobs” saying, “A job is a source of pride and dignity; the way you support your family; the proof that you’re doing the right thing and meeting your responsibilities and contributing to the fabric of your community […] So we should be doing everything we can as a country to create more good jobs that pay decent wages.  Period.  And the problem is not a lack of ideas.  Plenty of independent economists, business owners, and people from both parties agree on what we have to do to create good jobs.”

But when he goes on to talk about the Keystone XL pipeline, for some reason, the president seems to want to make it a partisan issue, saying: “Now it’s time for Republicans to lay out theirs […] Putting all your eggs in the basket of an oil pipeline that may only create about 50 permanent jobs […] isn’t a jobs plan.”

About those thousands of temporary jobs Keystone XL would create that the President doesn’t mention, Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department at AFL-CIO, said it best: “The interstate highway system was a temporary job; Mount Rushmore was a temporary job. If they knew anything about the construction industry they’d understand that we work ourselves out of jobs and we go from job to job to job.”

And of course, Keystone XL is not just a Republican idea.  Keystone XL enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support from the American public, including 56% of Democrats. Unions and labor organizations have rallied near the White House to ask President Obama to approve the pipeline because their members need those jobs.  And numerous Democratic Senators and Congressman have come out in strong support of the pipeline. Why?  Because of the jobs it would bring to their constituents.  Just to name a few:

Senator Baucus (D-Mont.): “Approving the Keystone Pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Americans to work right now. American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”

Senator Heitkamp (D-N.D.): “[T]he Keystone XL pipeline will create good-paying American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Senator Begich (D-Alaska): “The Keystone XL pipeline will give our economy an added boost by creating thousands of jobs and securing a reliable energy supply close to home.”

Senator Manchin (D-W. Va.): “As our economy continues to recover, there’s no dispute that the Keystone XL Pipeline would create good-paying jobs right here at home. Not only is the pipeline’s construction good for our economy, but it helps move us closer to our goal of achieving North American energy independence right here, right now.”

Senator Hagan (D-NC): “I encourage President Obama to quickly approve the Keystone XL Pipeline that will create thousands of American jobs while providing energy security for our country.”

It also goes beyond jobs – by approving Keystone XL we’d be able to show our top ally, Canada, that we value our North American energy future; that we are working together to achieve energy security for families in both of our nations; and that we value Canada’s business over unstable regions of the world.

The only people saying that Keystone XL won’t create jobs are those who have a clear agenda: to stop the energy production that has proven time and time again to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and grow our economy.  If the President is serious about creating jobs as he said today, he should listen to his own State Department, the unions who strongly support him, and even his colleagues in his own party and put Americans to work building Keystone XL.

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