By Sabrina Fang
Democrats and Republicans have started 2015 on the right foot, proving they can come together to pass meaningful legislation and they have. Both chambers have passed a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But the big question is will the president embrace this bipartisan accomplishment and work with Congress or will he shoot it down.
President Obama should listen to his own commentary on bipartisan cooperation, on the need to move forward on critical infrastructure projects, and the importance of securing an American economy that supports the middle class. He should say yes to 42,000 good paying jobs and yes to North American energy security. The American people have already said yes to KXL in poll after poll, they understand the pipeline is in our national interest. Congress is listening to them; shouldn’t the president do the same?
The State Department has concluded five times that the pipeline is safe. The exhaustive process that has stretched more than six year is coming to an end as the State Department will wrap up its review of the project next week. The case for building this pipeline could not be stronger.
But it’s not only the State Department with good words for Keystone XL. We encourage the president to listen to America’s labor force. This is what Terry O’Sullivan, the general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said last year.
“Although political decisions may not be easy, we believe the United States can still do great things, including construct great projects that advance our country’s place in the world. We believe we can do them smartly, safely and fairly for workers and local communities. But to do so, our country ultimately has to put sound policy ahead of politics. Despite efforts by an environmental fringe to hijack the mantle of progressivism or attempts by the far right to make Keystone a wedge issue, energy development is not a right-wing or a left-wing issue. It is critical to our country and to all of us.”
Or America’s ally, neighbor, and number one trading partner Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it best years ago that approving Keystone is a “no brainer” and that the logic behind the pipeline was “simply overwhelming” and that he will not take no for an answer.
It’s time for the president to work with Congress and approve Keystone and show the American people that Washington can work for them.