Conservative lawmakers in the House and Senate are keeping up the pressure on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, despite the fact that the president made no mention of the project Tuesday in his State of the Union speech.
Reacting to the speech, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., an ardent proponent of the pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries, said: “Although it is only one project, the Keystone XL pipeline illustrates the way the president is holding up our economy and discouraging real, private-sector job creation. The Keystone pipeline, and projects like it, will create millions of jobs…. Yet the Keystone XL pipeline has languished for five years in regulatory limbo, while millions remain jobless.”
Over on the other side of the Capitol, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., also touted the project as a jobs creator.
“Building the architecture of abundance and saying yes to widely supported projects like the Keystone pipeline will help create jobs today and keep energy affordable tomorrow,” Upton said in a statement. “We face great challenges as a nation, but now is the time to come together, not go it alone, in the effort to create jobs and boost the middle class.”
The conservative lawmakers were joined by private-sector supporters of the pipeline, including Jay Timmons, the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.
“The president missed an opportunity to show the American people that Washington can put politics aside for pro-growth policies,” Timmons said in a statement. “His call for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy neglected to include the Keystone XL pipeline, and his comment on tax reform once again used the political target of energy producers while failing to call for comprehensive reform that will drive growth for all industries.”
Environmental activists have long opposed the pipeline on the grounds that it will accelerate Canadian oil sands development. Project backers, however, say it will not have any substantial environmental impact and contend that shipping crude by pipeline is safer than by truck or rail.
Obama has said he will not greenlight Keystone XL unless it has been demonstrated that the pipeline will not significantly add to atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."