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

Watch The Surprising Way This Senior Liberal Senator Just Announced Her Re-Election Plans

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First elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, then to the Senate a decade later, California Democrat Barbara Boxer says she’s ready to move on from her legislative work on Capitol Hill.

The 74-year-old liberal lawmaker has let it be known that in 2016 she will not seek a fifth Senate term, choosing instead to pursue her societal passions outside of the upper chamber.

In the Senate, as ABC News notes, Boxer has joined fellow Californian and the senior senator from the Golden State, Dianne Feinstein, in championing a number of liberal causes:

…Boxer has been a staunch supporter of abortion rights, gun control and environmental protections.

And of course, she voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act — ObamaCare.

The last time Boxer ran for the Senate, in 2010, she handily defeated businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who has recently made noises about becoming a GOP candidate for president.

Senator Boxer chose a unique way of making known her intent not to seek re-election. She put out a YouTube video featuring her grandson asking the questions the lawmaker says she’s gotten from numerous reporters in recent months.

You can watch the Barbara and Zach show by clicking on the video above.

h/t: YouTube

Image Credit: YouTube

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

Krauthammer: Republicans Should Tell Obama To Bring On The Veto

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Before the 114th Congress has been sworn in, President Obama told National Public Radio that he will veto any bills the Republicans send him that he does not like.

“There are going to be some areas where we disagree. And, you know, I haven’t used the veto pen very often since I have been in office, partly because legislation that I objected to was typically blocked in the Senate, even after the House took over, Republicans took over the House. Now, I suspect there are going to be some times where I’ve got to pull that pen out.”

Now that Democratic Senator Harry Reid will no longer be the Majority Leader running interference for the president, he may be using the veto pen during the next two years.

Conservative Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer told guest host Kimberly Guilfoyle on Monday’s On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren the Republicans should say, “Bring it on, Mr. President.” The syndicated columnist said that this is an opportunity for the GOP to enact its agenda. 

“Now that it controls the House and the Senate, and now that Harry Reid is not there as the blocking guard for the president — that’s the reason he didn’t have to use the veto, he had Harry Reid — but with Harry Reid gone and Mitch McConnell running the Senate, they are able to enact agenda. They have an agenda. And they should be willing to pass whatever they can and to dare the president to go ahead and to veto.”

Krauthammer recommended that the Republicans begin the new year by passing legislation they know the president will sign, such as trade negotiating authority, which Reid was holding up. This will give Obama a victory.

“But then they should begin to work on stuff and challenge the president — Keystone Pipeline, tax reform, repealing the medical device tax, repealing the employer and individual mandates in health care reform. Let the president show where the party stands and let the country know that with a new president, a Republican president, this stuff, which is very popular, will be able to get through.”

h/t: The Daily Signal

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

Is Government Ever Faithful To The Constitution?

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When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government’s left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened.

Last week was dominated by two huge news stories. One was the revelation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of torture committed by CIA agents and contractors on 119 detainees in the post-9/11 era — 26 of whom were tortured for months by mistake. In that revelation of anguish and error were the conclusions by CIA agents themselves that their torture had not produced helpful information. President Barack Obama acknowledged that the CIA had tortured; yet he directed the Department of Justice not to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized it.

The other substantial news story was the compromise achieved by Congress and the White House to fund the government through the end of September 2015. That legislation, which is 2,000 pages in length, was not read by anyone who voted for it. It spends a few hundred billion dollars more than the government will collect in tax revenue. The compromise was achieved through bribery; members of Congress bought and sold votes by adding goodies (in the form of local expenditures of money borrowed by the federal government) to the bill that were never debated or independently voted upon and were added solely to achieve the votes needed for passage. This is how the federal government operates today. Both parties participate in it. They have turned the public treasury into a public trough.

Hidden in the law that authorized the government to spend more than it will collect was a part about funding for the 16 federal civilian intelligence agencies. And hidden in that was a clause, inserted by the same Senate Intelligence Committee that revealed the CIA torture, authorizing the National Security Agency to gather and retain nonpublic data for five years and to share it with law enforcement and with foreign governments. “Nonpublic data” is the government’s language referring to the content of the emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements, utility bills, and credit card bills of nearly every innocent person in America — including members of Congress, federal judges, public officials, and law enforcement officials. I say “innocent” because the language of this legislation — which purports to make lawful the NSA spying we now all know about — makes clear that those who spy upon us needn’t have any articulable suspicion or probable cause for spying.

The need for articulable suspicion and probable cause has its origins in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which was written to prohibit what Congress just authorized. That amendment was a reaction to the brutish British practice of rummaging through the homes of American colonists, looking for anything that might be illegal. It is also a codification of our natural right to privacy. It requires that if the government wants nonpublic data from our persons, houses, papers or effects, it must first present evidence of probable cause to a judge and then ask the judge for a search warrant.

Probable cause is a level of evidence that is sufficient to induce a judge into concluding that it is more likely than not that the place to be examined contains evidence of crimes. In order to seek probable cause, the government must first have an articulable suspicion about the person or place it has targeted. Were this not in the law, then nothing would stop the government from fishing expeditions in pursuit of anyone it wants to pursue. And fishing expeditions turn the presumption of liberty on its head. The presumption of liberty is based on the belief that our rights are natural to us and that we may exercise them without a permission slip from the government and without its surveillance.

Until last week, that is. Last week, Congress, by authorizing the massive NSA spying to continue and by authorizing the spies to share what they have seized with law enforcement, basically permitted the fishing expeditions that the Fourth Amendment was written to prevent.

How can the president and Congress defy the Constitution, you might ask? Hasn’t every member of the government taken an oath to uphold the Constitution? Doesn’t the Constitution create the presidency and the Congress? How can politicians purport to change it?

The answers to these questions are obvious, as is the belief of most of those in government that they can write any law and regulate any behavior and ignore the Constitution they have sworn to uphold whenever they want, so long as they can get away with it.

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