It was widely reported this week that President Obama is “embarrassed” that the United States is “falling behind” countries like China when it comes to building the infrastructure needed to sustain a growing economy. As he said about a convention center that was built in China: “They had built it in a year.”
Meanwhile, it has taken six years and counting just to decide on a pipeline that would bring enormous benefits to the United States. It would provide the infrastructure we need to transport energy resources from our friend and ally, Canada – not to mention the tens of thousands of jobs and strengthened energy security that the pipeline would bring.
President Obama also spoke about the importance of private investors in our nation’s infrastructure development, saying, “I’ve been exploring…to see how we can do more in attracting private investment into infrastructure construction.” The best thing he could do on that score is approve Keystone XL, which would bring billions in private sector investment to the United States. Further, revenues from Keystone XL, which would be substantial, would help local governments make improvements to broken highways, roads and bridges.
The six year anniversary of the wait for Keystone XL was highlighted by the American Petroleum Institute with gifts of shovels and candy with the message: “KXL: Shovel ready for six years and counting.” The Chamber of Commerce commemorated the anniversary with a tour along the path of the pipeline, speaking with the landowners and ranchers who have been waiting six years.
Keystone XL is supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people; unions have held rallies across the county to tell President Obama let them get to work building it; and an overwhelming number of editorial boards have encouraged Keystone XL’s approval.
President Obama’s excuses are wearing pretty thin, too. In fact, the Washington Post Fact Checker just debunked his recent claim that Keystone XL crude would go “everywhere else” but the United States, concluding that it “earns Three Pinocchios. We nearly made it Four Pinocchios.” Earlier this year when President Obama hugely underestimated the jobs from Keystone XL, the Washington Post Fact Checker gave President Obama “Two Pinocchios” for giving a “low-ball estimate.”
China can build an enormous convention center within year. We can’t even approve a pipeline in six years. That’s what’s embarrassing, Mr. President. What’s even more embarrassing is it all comes down to politics – pure and simple.