It isn’t every day that the American people are imploring the president to listen to his own party, but when it comes to the bipartisan Keystone pipeline and the 42,000 jobs (at least) it would support, it’s just that kind of day.
You see, the president’s threat to veto legislation approving the pipeline isn’t just a knock against the labor unions and small businesses that back the project, it’s a knock against members of his own party who support the pipeline and are calling on him to do the same.
The bill approving the Keystone pipeline, S. 1, passed with the support of nine Democrats in the Senate and 29 in the House. “It’s a shame, It’s just really, truly a shame,” one Senate Democrat remarked when asked about the president’s opposition to the pipeline. “The bottom line is with nine bipartisan Democrats and Republicans working together, all we’re asking for is – look at the bill, look at the jobs it creates, look at the security it gives our nation.”
That message is being echoed by governors across the country. “This does need to go forward, and it makes sense for our country,” says Democratic Governors Association Chair Steve Bullock (D-MT). And in a letter to the State Department last year, Missouri Democratic Governor Jay Nixon wrote, “the approval and construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will strengthen our economy, create jobs and promote North American energy independence.” In a separate letter to the White House, 24 Republican governors also urged the president to reconsider his veto threat, including Gov. Mary Fallin (R-MO) who made clear in this week’s Republican address that the Keystone pipeline isn’t about Democrats and Republicans, “It’s about jobs. It’s about energy. It’s about infrastructure. It’s about hope.”
Support for the Keystone pipeline isn’t just strong amongst elected Democrats, but also amongst those who put the president in office. “The project has long held overwhelming public support, including from a plurality of Democrats,” National Journal reports, citing a March 2014 Pew survey that “found that a 49-percent plurality of Democratic voters support the Keystone pipeline, including 40 percent of self-described liberals.”
The president has exhausted all of his “shifting rationales” for blocking the Keystone pipeline – legal, scientific, and otherwise. Will he listen to the members of his own party – and the vast majority of Americans – and approve the project, or continue letting a narrow group of fringe extremists dictate his agenda?