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Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska
Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska makes a point
Wednesday about the bill he sponsored  
to yank presidential authority for approving
the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In statement after statement on the House floor Wednesday, Republicans clearly were tracking the same talking points on why representatives should vote for legislation to transfer to Congress the president's authority to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the Keystone XL pipeline. They might as well have been on the payroll of TransCanada, the pipeline's builder.

And they might as well have been playing tiddlywinks since President Obama has indicated that he will veto the bill that some have called unconstitutional if it makes it to his desk. With those 19 Democrats in tow, including eight of the 14 remaining Blue Dogs, all but one Republican voted for the bill, 241-175-1. As  noted by Stephen Kretzman, executive director of Oil Change International, supporters have taken six times more campaign contributions from the oil industry than did the opponents, a total of $56 million.

The pipeline requires a presidential permit because it crosses an international boundary. The legislation would not change authority for approval of any other cross-boundary pipelines.

The Republicans at the podium Wednesday spouted permanent job numbers from the project as high as 20,000, long since debunked along with the 250,000 projected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the million Foxaganda once claimed.

They noted that the State Department's March 1 supplemental environmental impact statement on Keystone gave a green light to the project without noting that the Environmental Protection Agency stated the SEIS had contained "insufficient information" to make a good decision.

They touted the alleged independence from OPEC oil that the United States would obtain from boosting the capacity of TransCanada to transport tar sands petroleum from the Alberta tar sands deposits to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. In a choice bit of hypocrisy, they did that even as they voted down an amendment by Democratic Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey that would have required all petroleum carried by the pipeline to be refined and sold in the United States.

They even talked ridiculously about how the pipeline would reduce the price of gasoline at the pump even though TransCanada itself said as far back as 2009 that the price of petroleum from the tar sands would rise by $3 a barrel, meaning so would the price of gasoline.

Among the several Democrats pushing back—including Holt, Henry Waxman of California, Peter DeFazio of Oregon—Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona called the bill a “reckless attempt to avoid environmental review.” Other Democrats even dared to bring up the impact the especially dirty product extracted from the tar sands has on climate change, a term which a large number of House Republicans believe or pretend to believe describes a hoax.

The outcome of the debate was preordained. The only variable from the outset was how many Democrats would vote for the legislation. Nineteen of them joined the all-but-one Republican (who voted "present") saying "aye." The legislation now moves on to the Senate. Whether it will reach there DOA or Majority Leader Harry Reid will decide to allow it to be considered is unknown so far. If it were to get a Senate vote, there is a chance it would be approved. Seventeen Senate Democrats previously have voted in support of the pipeline. But that was a symbolic vote. Fewer would no doubt vote to pull the president's authority over approval, but there might still be enough to pass the bill.

As noted, however, if it were actually to pass the Senate, there still wouldn't be enough votes to override a presidential veto. So, in reality, all the hyperventilating Wednesday represented little more than a tantrum by the congressional right wing. They had no problem offering a unique exception from long-standing rules to a foreign corporation by thumbing their noses at the processes mandated by the National Environmental Protection Agency and executive orders dating back to Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 and reiterated by George W. Bush in 2004. Not exactly a surprise, but certainly more evidence of what they really mean when they talk about patriotism.

Below the fold is the list of Democrats who voted for the legislation.


Liberty Fraternity Equality and Trees has a good discussion on the subject going on here.

Here are the Democrats who voted for pulling the president's authority to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

John Barrow (GA-12) Blue Dog
Sanford Bishop (GA-02) Blue Dog
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Jim Cooper (TN-05) Blue Dog
Jim Costa (CA-16) Blue Dog
Henry Cuellar (TX-28) Blue Dog
William Enyart (IL-12)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
Sean Maloney (NY-12)
Sean Matheson (UT-04) Blue Dog
Mike McIntyre (NC-07) Blue Dog
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
William Owens (NY-21)
Colin Peterson (MN-07) Blue Dog
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
John Yarmuth (KY-03)

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, Gulf Watchers Group, and Daily Kos.

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