Just like an unwanted dinner guest that you can’t convince to leave, the Keystone Pipeline project is still on the GOP’s legislative agenda. Actually, it’s now at the top of the GOP’s legislative agenda.
Read the news stories: Republican leaders have apparently given up on efforts to rein in their Tea Party legislators. Last Friday, the House voted – for the 42nd time – in their futile attempt to repeal Obamacare. Next Monday, the federal government is probably going to close down – because Congress can’t bring itself to pass annual Appropriations bills. Jobs bills – and legislation to repair long-neglected roads and bridges – are gathering dust on Representatives’ shelves. Immigration reform isn’t going anywhere. Common-sense gun reform? Yeah, right. (About 8,400 Americans have been killed in the nine months since Newtown. Crisis? How many people have to die before Congress considers it a crisis?)
But no matter what else they’ve given up on, Republican leaders are still determined to force through TransCanada’s pipeline project. Sometime in the next month or so, Republicans plan to use debt-ceiling legislation to bypass the administrative review process and authorize construction of the pipeline by Congressional fiat.
No, it’s not the first time the GOP has used fiscal emergencies to try to push the Keystone project through. Back in December 2011, the Republicans traded about $30 billion in federal debt for an expedited review process (which resulted in the project being rejected). Since then, House Republicans have inserted Keystone into four other pieces of legislation, including the federal budget.
But why does Congress even care about Keystone? TransCanada’s pipeline is nothing more or less than a construction project built by and benefitting a private corporation. Sort of like… if Walmart wanted to build another gazillion-square-foot distribution center. (Except that a new Walmart distribution center would probably create more than 35 permanent jobs. Yep, that’s the number of permanent jobs that Keystone is expected to create: just 35.) So why is Congress getting so involved in the project permitting?
One more time: Keystone is a construction project of a privately-owned corporation. (Wondering exactly who owns that corporation? According to Morningstar’s shareholder records, it looks like a whole lot of TransCanada stock is owned by foreign banks.)
One more time: WHY are the Republicans insisting that TransCanada be allowed to build this pipeline?
And whatever happened to “fiscal responsibility”? Do Republicans really want our government to default on its bills? That’s the scenario they’re setting up, by tying the debt-limit increase to construction of this private pipeline.
You can read (experience?) the GOP’s latest press release about Keystone here.
Read NHLN’s “Why Is the House GOP Obsessed with the Keystone Pipeline” here.