Obama “begs” Congress to “just do something” on infrastructure while refusing to do anything on Keystone XL

President Obama has been making the rounds this week promoting his new plans to improve the nation’s infrastructure and calling on Congress to act.  As he said Tuesday in McLean, Virginia,

“The American people have to demand that folks in Washington do their job. Do something. That’s my big motto for Congress right now: Just do something.”

Meanwhile an overwhelming number of Americans wish President Obama would “just do something” on one of the most important infrastructure projects in America: the Keystone XL pipeline.  Congress has actually done something about Keystone XL, passing bipartisan bill after bill over the past (almost) six years, yet it’s President Obama who continues to stall.

Today, ahead of President Obama’s speech unveiling his new plan to increase investments in infrastructure, the White House released a joint report from the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council, which explains the vast benefits of infrastructure investments in terms of jobs and economic growth. From the report:

“Construction and manufacturing sectors were disproportionately affected by the economic crisis – so infrastructure investments help support hard-hit American workers. Although the construction sector has added 186,000 jobs over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate for construction workers remains elevated at 9.9 percent (based on a twelve-month moving average of not seasonally adjusted data). At the same time, the number of construction jobs has fallen by nearly 20 percent since December 2007. Accelerated infrastructure investment would provide an opportunity for construction workers to productively apply their skills and experience. Investing in infrastructure now would not only help those workers for whom unemployment remains unacceptably high, but would also allow state and localities to address their critical needs at a time when costs for building and financing projects are very low.” (pp. 8-9)

Funny, that’s exactly what the labor unions – whose members desperately need Keystone XL jobs – have been saying all along.  As Terry O’Sullivan, President of Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) said, Keystone XL is “about jobs; that’s what it’s about… It’s good for our economy, it’s good for our country; it’s good for our energy independence and it’s good for working men and women in the building trades.”

Still frustrated by the ongoing Keystone XL delay, in an April 24 op ed O’Sullivan suggested that “the Obama administration grow a set of antlers or take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

America’s manufacturers, who President Obama claims he wants to help, are also not pleased with these endless delays.  Just a few weeks ago, the National Association of Manufacturers joined a number of labor and business groups in a letter telling President Obama that his latest Keystone XL delay, ostensibly due to the Nebraska court rulings, is completely unjustified.

You know the wait is getting ridiculous when even the Washington Post calls President Obama’s delay tactics “absurd” and “embarrassing.”

President Obama’s infrastructure report points out,

“The data and research presented in this report underscores what the American people already know: investing in infrastructure is essential to the economic health of the nation. That’s why poll after poll shows that Americans favor infrastructure investment.” (p. 22)

So is it any wonder that poll after poll shows that the American people overwhelmingly want Keystone XL to be built?

Now the question that remains is: when is President Obama finally going to “do [his] job” and approve Keystone XL?

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