White House: Blame the GOP for Keystone XL
On Wednesday, Barack Obama decided that the Keystone XL pipeline was a no-go, for the time being at least, essentially blaming Republicans for trying to score political points by including a provision in the American "Jobs" Act that required Obama to make a decision on Keystone within 60 days of passing.
Obama gave his answer through his spokesperson, Jay Carney, who chose to play victim by throwing all blame towards the GOP, arguing that there simply wasn't enough time to study the impacts that Keystone -- which would have provided thousands of jobs and energy resources -- would have on the economy and environment, including how it would affect the "water our children drink and the air that they breathe."
Rather, the GOP should be blamed for not doing more to support Obama's "jobs" plan --namely, extending tax cuts. Carney further argued that "[T]he president's commitment to job creation has been amply demonstrated by the policies that he has pursued, that he has signed into law, that have contributed considerably to the creation of 3.2 million private sector jobs."
We'll let the record speak for itself. Video and corresponding transcript follow:
When, in the case of the Keystone pipeline, concerns were raised about the environmental impacts on the air and water quality in Nebraska by, among others, the governor of Nebraska, a Republican, a decision was made that an alternate route be sought, and that, therefore, the process had to be delayed so that an adequate review could be undertaken, following the same standards that have always been in place, that were in place in the beginning of this process for this particular pipeline, and that have been in place for these kinds of projects for many years.
In a purely partisan effort to score a political point, Republicans in Congress insisted on inserting an extraneous provision within a bill that had nothing to do with pipelines, but was a bill to extend a tax cut to 160 million Americans -- a tax cut that this president fought very hard to get and to extend.
Even prior to the signing of that legislation, the State Department, which, again, reviews this process, made clear that setting an arbitrary deadline through this purely political effort would put the State Department in a corner, would severely hamper their ability to review an alternative route and a new pipeline route in the proper way, a way that has long been established by precedent and that would take into consideration all the criteria that are so important in decisions like this: economic impact, national security impact, environmental impact, the effect on the water that our children breathe -- or rather water our children drink and the air that they breathe.
They made clear at the State Department in a statement prior to the signing of this legislation that imposing an arbitrary 60-day deadline on this process would make it virtually impossible for an adequate review to take place of a route, an alternate route, that to this day does not yet exist.
So I am simply reviewing the facts as we know them.
[Reporter]: Yes, but he signed the law that says he had to do that.
MR. CARNEY: And we made clear -- well, he signed a law that forced a decision to be made in an arbitrary fashion, no question. And I don't have an announcement about any decision that would be forthcoming on that. But I'm just reviewing the facts as they existed yesterday as well as today.
[T]he president's commitment to job creation has been amply demonstrated by the policies that he has pursued, that he has signed into law, that have contributed considerably to the creation of 3.2 million private sector jobs. They've been demonstrated by his fierce commitment to doing everything he can, both working with Congress and acting independently, to further assist the economy as it recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression, to further assist the economy as it creates more jobs -- most notably, recently, his proposal, the American Jobs Act, which if the Republicans were committed to job creation they would join with him in making sure that all of the provisions of that law became -- of that proposal became law, including the provision that would put 400,000 teachers and first responders back to work, the provision that would help us rebuild our infrastructure and put idle constructions workers back to work -- hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Americans who would have jobs were the Republicans to finish the work of passing the American Jobs Act.
The effort to score a political point, in a process that was wholly unrelated, because they were unhappy about the fact that the president was pushing for a payroll tax cut extension for 160 million Americans, I don't think makes a lot of substantive sense in terms of the issue that proponents of that course say they care about, which is a decision that needs to be made on a pipeline and the potential economic -- positive economic impacts that that would have. You got to let the process unfold the way it's supposed to unfold without this kind of extraneous political interference, and then a decision would be made on the merits.