The Senate could vote as early as today on competing amendments to the highway bill regarding the Keystone XL pipeline.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced an amendment to counter the Republicans’ effort to bypass the president and approve the project. The Dem version would ban export of oil carried through Keystone, with an exception for presidential waivers, and require that U.S. iron and steel be used in construction of the pipeline.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who sponsored the GOP amendment with Sens. Richard Lugar (Ind.) and David Vitter (La.), said the Democrats’ version actually “makes it worse,” forcing TransCanada to go back through the application process and adding more restrictions.
“Some refined products can’t be used in our country,” Hoeven said early today. “Therefore, if these products can’t be exported, that revenue will be lost, and will force refiners to sell gas at a higher price.”
“In fact, 75 percent of the steel and 90 percent of the other materials will be purchased in North America,” he added. “It is not possible to meet the 100 percent requirement because some materials have already been purchased by the company.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) responded this morning to reports that President Obama is personally lobbying against the Republican amendment, fearing that moderate Democrats could help the GOP reach the 60-vote threshold.
“Americans have heard the president profess to wake up every morning thinking about jobs, but apparently today he woke up thinking about how to lobby against them,” Cornyn said. “President Obama’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering in his crusade against Keystone is the starkest reminder yet he’s the only thing standing between this country and more jobs.”