Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has decided to take the Keystone XL pipeline off the table as part of the committee’s energy bill.
“One of the things I’m actively working against is what I call poison pills by one side or the other — so yes, of course I support Keystone. We’ve had a number of votes on that, but I know that’s not going to fly,” Upton said at an event sponsored by National Journal.
“We’re not going to get the president to sign that as part of any deal. He vetoed it as a separate deal – that’s not going to be part of this bill,” he added.
In March, the Senate failed to override President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“The president’s veto of the bipartisan Keystone bill represents a victory for partisanship and for powerful special interests,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at the time. “The president’s veto of the bipartisan Keystone bill represents a defeat for jobs, infrastructure, and the middle class.”
Upton also expressed doubt that nuclear energy will be included in the bill.
“I don’t know if we’ll have a specific nuclear title as part of this and on the issue of nuclear waste, which is related for sure, we’re not going to be ready to include something like that as part of an energy bill we’re going to mark up next month,” he said. “For me, I’ll say I support nuclear. Again, I’ve got two facilities in my district – thousands of jobs.”
Upton said he hopes a bipartisan energy bill passes the Republican-controlled House before the end of the year.
He touted his party’s record of passing bipartisan legislation in the House, particularly in the last session of Congress.
“In the last Congress, we had more bills passed on the House floor than any other – 91 – 90 of them had Democrat support, 40 of them were signed into law by President Obama and of the remaining 51, two-thirds of them, passed the House with better than a two-thirds vote, some of them unanimously,” Upton said.
According to a recent Gallup poll, only 17 percent of respondents approve of the way Congress is handling its job. Despite its approval rating, Upton said the Republican-controlled Congress has been productive so far this year, conducting more than 70 hearings in the House and passing over 20 bills.
“I haven’t done my analysis but I’m pretty sure all of them had bipartisan votes, some of them pretty substantial and some of them have been signed into law and we still have 6 months to go in this year, let alone next year,” he said.