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Charles S.
Democrat NY

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  • Keystone XL Pipeline

    by Senator Charles E. Schumer

    Posted on 2015-01-20

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    SCHUMER. Mr. President, this morning I rise in support of two amendments that will make it clear to the American people exactly what this bill to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline is all about and whom our Republican friends from across the aisle are trying to help.

    The amendments offered by Senators Markey and Franken would ensure that the pipeline benefits the American consumer and the American economy. Without them, the bill to authorize the pipeline will benefit narrow special interests, such as foreign oil companies, not hard- working Americans.

    We have heard from several of my friends on the other side of the aisle, including the lead sponsor, that the Keystone bill is a jobs bill and an energy bill. That may be true, but without Senator Markey's amendment it is nothing but a Canadian energy bill, and without Senator Franken's amendment it is a paltry jobs bill.

    First, on energy, in short, the Keystone bill will allow one Canadian company to use the United States as a middleman to ship oil to the highest bidder abroad. The Canadian oil company, TransCanada, refuses to commit to keeping the crude oil or the refined products in America. Canadian tar sands oil is already traveling through gulf coast refineries on its way to foreign markets, and, as the Wall Street Journal has reported, much of the crude oil that would flow through the Keystone XL Pipeline would ultimately be exported as refined product.

    Why not add to this bill a requirement that any oil products transported through the Keystone XL Pipeline be consumed in America? Plain and simple, that is exactly what Senator Markey's amendment would do. If Republicans are serious about improving our energy security, they will support Senator Markey's amendment.

    Second, let's talk about whether this is a real jobs bill. Republicans and supporters of the project like to cite that building the pipeline will support American industries and American jobs in iron and steel, but a 2011 analysis by Cornell University found that 50 percent or more of the steel pipe will be manufactured outside the United States.

    It is no wonder that even the most optimistic job projections about the Keystone Pipeline are a drop in the bucket compared to just 1 month of job growth in our country. In the final tally, the State Department report says it will create only 35 permanent jobs.

    Why not guarantee in the bill that U.S.-made iron, steel, and manufactured goods be used to build the pipeline? That is exactly what Democrats have offered in an amendment worked out by Senators Franken and Wyden.

    These amendments should be bipartisan. Republicans have supported several measures in the past. I know many of my Republican colleagues voted to ban the export of oil drilled in the ANWR in Alaska. I hope they will join us on this amendment as well.

    If Republicans oppose us, they will be making it crystal clear to Americans that they are on the side of narrow special interests instead of on the side of America's middle class. They will be supporting special interests over American jobs.

    Let me be clear. We think the Keystone Pipeline should not be built, and there are several reasons for that, among them that the pipeline may accelerate global climate change. Tar sands oil is far dirtier than conventional crude oil. Democrats would much rather see an energy bill that promotes clean energy sources such as solar and wind, industries which create far more jobs, both construction and manufacturing, using far cleaner energy than the pipeline.

    Why not have a policy that produces many more jobs with the cleanest of energy rather than very few jobs with the dirtiest energy on the North American continent? But if Keystone is going to be built, we think it shouldn't only benefit Canadian oil companies and overseas steel manufacturers but should actually benefit average families and the American worker.

    To conclude, I note that instead of a real energy bill or a real jobs bill or a real infrastructure bill or immigration or any bill to address the greatest problems facing our country at the moment--the decline in middle-class incomes and the lack of middle-class jobs--for their first proposed action in the 114th Congress, S. 1, Republicans have chosen a permit for a foreign oil company that would create 35 permanent jobs. This is not an opening with a bang; this is an opening with a whimper. It is like leading off a new baseball game with a bunt.

    Democrats can't change what bills Republicans put on the calendar, but our amendments will show a clear and stark contrast if Republicans vote no. On these amendments and more, Republicans are going to have to make a choice: Will they continue to fight for narrow special interests or will they work with Democrats to advance America's middle class by creating more jobs and putting more money in the pockets of American families? Time and these votes will tell.

    I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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