Obama To Veto Keystone XL, Potentially Other Bills

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President Obama is slated to veto the Keystone XL bill passed by Congress Tuesday, among the first of several key potential vetoes in his final years in office.

 

02242015_Veto Tweet_TwitterEven though the House passed the final version of Keystone earlier this month, only today is the lower chamber sending the bill to the White House for consideration. The president has 10 days to act on the legislation (except for Sunday), or else it becomes law. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Monday the bill will be vetoed.

“I would anticipate, as we’ve been saying for years, that the president will veto that legislation, and he will, so I would not anticipate a lot of drama or fanfare around it,” he said.

Earnest added that Obama will veto the bill because it would conflict with the U.S. State Department’s current review of the TransCanada pipeline, which he says could still be approved later. In a statement on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., encouraged the president to change his mind:

It’s hard to even imagine what a serious justification for a veto might be…I know powerful special interests and political extremists are pressuring the president to veto American jobs. I hope President Obama will join us in standing for the middle class instead.

This would only be the third veto during Obama’s presidency, noted The Detroit News. But the president has signaled he would ban a 20 week abortion ban if it came to his desk as well as any changes to his immigration policy.

“If rather than try to solve the broken immigration system they compound the problem, I’ll veto it,” he said at a retreat for Democratic House members in Philadelphia last month, Politico reported.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said earlier this month that there would be a veto override vote for Keystone XL. “If he vetoes it as we anticipate – I worked at the White House so I know that once a president says something it doesn’t change – yeah, we’ll have a vote.”

h/t: The Washington Post

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Senate To Vote On Keystone XL Pipeline Thursday

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The United States Senate will take the final vote on Keystone XL Thursday. Although it is unclear what the final vote tally will be, as many as nine Democrats could join the Republican majority to break the filibuster and send the bill to President Obama’s desk.

The Hill reported Thursday that as many as 63 Senators could vote to approve S.1, the $8 billion TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, including nine Democrats; three short of the number needed to override a veto from President Obama. The president has signaled he would veto the legislation if it were presented to him.

Votes on 35 amendments were held by the Senate for this bill. During the vote on the 15th amendment last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pointed out an interesting milestone:

“We’ve actually reached a milestone here that I think’s noteworthy for the Senate, that we just cast our 15th roll call vote on an amendment on [the Keystone XL] bill which is more votes, more roll call votes on amendments than the entire United States Senate in all of 2014.”

“Constructing Keystone would pump billions into our economy. It would support thousands of good American jobs. And as the President’s own State Department has indicated, it would do this with minimal environmental impact,” McConnell said Thursday in a press release.

The House approved Keystone XL earlier this month, 266 to 153. In the previous Congress last November, the Senate attempted to pass Keystone XL, but fell short by only one vote.

h/t: The Washington Examiner

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

For Obama And His Keystone Cops, This New Pipeline Poll Could Be A Game Changer

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Buoyed by outspoken environmentalists, climate change doomsayers, and liberal lawmakers, President Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto any bill that Congress might send him to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a measure to move forward with the controversial pipeline project. That legislation is now in the Senate, where its fate could be an early test of GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to assemble a bipartisan coalition big enough to override a presidential veto.

Thehill.com reports that contentious debate over the measure could begin on the Senate floor as early as next week.

Democrats are aiming to use the amendment process to force Republicans into a number of tough votes, including on whether to back an amendment that states man-made climate change is happening.

Asked if the Republican caucus was ready to take that vote, McConnell said, “Yeah!”

It will be interesting to see if the results of a brand new poll on the pipeline have any influence in that Senate debate, possibly giving pro-pipeline Republicans a boost in their head-to-head with Obama.

The CNN/ORC poll whose findings were released today shows that the percentage of Americans who support the Keystone project is double the percentage who oppose the construction of the long-delayed oil pipeline.

“The 1,179-mile Canada-to-Texas pipeline is backed by 57% of the 1,011 Americans surveyed on Dec. 18-21. Just 28% oppose it, while 15% say they are unsure.”

CNN notes that the measure up for debate in the Senate would end the State Department’s six-year review of the project and give the green light to its immediate construction.

As Western Journalism has reported, proponents of the international oil pipeline cite its potential for extensive job creation and increased energy independence for Americans.

h/t: CNN

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Mitch McConnell Wages War Against The EPA

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

In January, Democratic Senator Harry Reid will retire from being the Majority Leader – with Republican Mitch McConnell as his replacement.

McConnell is a consummate Washington insider. After graduating from the University of Louisville in 1964, he traveled to Washington, D.C. to become an intern for Senator John Sherman Cooper. Later, he worked for both the U.S. Senate as a staff member and was also a member of the Gerald Ford administration.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, and has served in the Senate for over 30 years.

The longevity of his career makes him an expert on how the U.S. Senate works… And according to him, his first duty of business is to restore Kentucky coal to the top of America’s energy mountain.

But will he win the fight, and how else will he use his newfound power?

Righting the EPA’s Defunct Policy

Since taking office, Barack Obama has waged an unceasing war on coal. His U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has been attempting to use the regulatory power it has to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30%.

But to achieve these goals, they’re forcing the closure of coal power plants nationwide.

McConnell calls this policy “a true outrage.”

But he didn’t stop there. He told The Courier-Journal, “So [Obama] has a war on coal – and, honestly, I’m going to go to war with him over coal.” He concluded his interview by saying that the U.S. Senate under his leadership would attempt to stop the administration “in any way that we can.”

The Obama administration hasn’t taken the threat lightly. Head of the EPA Gina McCarthy has been fighting back. She recently defended herself and her agency, saying, “I feel very confident that the American people understand the value of the EPA.”

Meanwhile, McConnell hasn’t hesitated to shoot back. He recently told The Associated Press, “Look, my first obligation is to protect my people, who are hurting as the result of what this administration is doing.”

Tossing more fuel on the fire… he called the Obama administration’s global warming deal with China a “phony deal,” adding that “coal is booming elsewhere. Our country, going down this path all by ourselves, is going to have about as much impact as dropping a pebble in the ocean.”

From a Clear Coal Fight to a Murky Future

It’s clear McConnell will fight for coal. McConnell concluded a recent interview by giving confirmation: “So for the president to pursue his crusade at the expense of the people of my state is completely unacceptable, and I’m going to do any and everything I can to stop it.”

But aside from his clear stance on coal and a few other things – like the Keystone XL pipeline (for which he’s pledged to pass legislation) – he’s mum about his agenda beyond that…

Will he fight the Obama amnesty for illegal immigrants? (McConnell is non-committal.)

Will he fight Obama’s foreign policy adventures in Syria? (It looks unlikely.)

Whether McConnell will go down in history as a great Majority Leader will depend on how well he navigates the difficult relations with our recalcitrant president. Especially since Obama has declared his intention to ignore both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House… and pursue his own agenda via executive action.

It’s a hard call at the moment, but January will be here soon enough.

 

This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

BREAKING: What Rand Paul Just Announced Could Both Excite And Dismay Supporters

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It has long been assumed by those in the know that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will throw his hat into the 2016 presidential ring. In fact, the belief in a pending Paul candidacy is so strong that pollsters have for a while been taking the pulse of the American electorate with an eye toward a Rand Paul run.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls finds that, in a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton, Paul trails the former Secretary of State by eight percentage points. The closest poll — a recent Quinnipiac survey — finds a five-point advantage for Clinton.

So, Rand Paul fans and followers pushing a White House bid have been expecting a campaign announcement from Kentucky’s junior senator…but not necessarily the one made today. Via usatoday.com:

The Republican said in a news release that he’s seeking re-election to the Senate from Kentucky.

He told the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., ahead of his campaign announcement that he’s still “four to six months” away from making up his mind about running for the White House.

What could raise concern among Paul’s many supporters is a Kentucky law that ostensibly prohibits a candidate from appearing more than once on a ballot for federal office.

In other words, say some of the law’s staunch proponents, Rand Paul would not be able to run simultaneously for the senate and for the presidency in 2016.

And what about changing that controversial Kentucky law? Again, via usatoday.com:

Allies of Paul’s in the state Legislature tried unsuccessfully in the past session to change the law so candidates can run simultaneously for two federal offices — as states such as Texas already do.

The measure passed the GOP-controlled state Senate but did not go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled state House.

There’s no indication from the Paul camp that the senator’s announcement that he will seek re-election means he has ruled out a 2016 presidential campaign.

As for Rand Paul’s re-election standing among his fellow Republicans in the Bluegrass State, it seems to be on sound footing:

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and all of Paul’s Kentucky GOP congressional colleagues endorsed his re-election bid. McConnell, who is set to become majority leader in January, called Paul “an irreplaceable partner” and hailed him for his “innovative mind for conservative reforms that create jobs and get the economy working again.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom