Today’s House Debate Topic: The Keystone Pipeline

The House voted 72-21 Wednesday to send President Obama a resolution condemning his “rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline” while rejecting the idea of sending a similar message to the governor of Nebraska.
The resolution, sponsored by Republican Rep. Dennis Powers of Jacksboro, says Obama “demonstrated that job creation is not a high priority for his administration, despite the nation experiencing an unacceptably high unemployment rate and an ailing economy.”
HR195 is the latest in a series of Republican-sponsored resolutions that have no legal effect but express an opinion on national issues, in this case TransCanada’s proposed construction of a 1,661-mile pipeline to transport oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.
President Obama, who is to be sent a copy of the resolution, recently postponed a decision on granting the necessary federal permits for the project, opposed by many environmentalists.
House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, proposed an amendment to Powers’ resolution that that would have directed a copy be sent to Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, as well. The Fitzhugh amendment urges Heineman and Nebraskans “to expedite their environmental study and work with President Obama and
the federal government in finding a location through the state of Nebraska where the pipeline can be built that does not interfere with the water supply.”
If Republicans believe Obama has been an impediment, Fitzhugh said, they should also acknowledge that Nebraska’s concern over the route of the pipeline has been an impediment as well. The resolution should urge both impediments be removed, he said.
“Otherwise we have a House resolution that means absolutely nothing, a House resolution that doesn’t accomplish it purpose and a House resolution that’s done merely for political purposes,” he said.
On motion of House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, Fitzhugh’s proposed amendment was killed on a 64-34 vote – Republicans voting to kill, Democrats supporting it.
But on the final vote for the resolution itself, unamended, several Democrats joined Republicans in support.

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