Senate Republicans Block Amendment Requiring Steel for Keystone XL Pipeline to be Made in America

keystone-xl-steelAfter years of back and forth debate that only seem to be delaying the inevitable, Republicans finally have enough power in Congress to send a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline to the president’s desk. The Obama administration has said it will veto any such bill and Republicans don’t seem to have the necessary 67 votes in the Senate to override his veto; though the GOP has become infamous for wasting time and millions of taxpayer dollars “passing” (or trying to repeal) legislation when they know their efforts won’t end up being successful.


For a great example of this look no further than the 50+ votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act that Republicans in the House have held over the last several years. Time, resources and millions of dollars wasted on nonsense they knew had absolutely no chance at even getting beyond the Senate, let alone signed by the president.

Hell, they shut down the government when they knew they had no chance at accomplishing anything for which they claimed to be “fighting.”

So, at least or now, it appears this debate will continue on for the foreseeable future even with Obama’s veto threat looming. Though I’ve cautioned liberals who have stood adamantly opposed to this pipeline to prepare themselves for defeat eventually. This just strikes me as one of those projects that’s going to end up being built at some point. Personally, I think the pipeline is a “bargaining chip” President Obama is keeping in his back pocket to use at a later date.

Well, be that as it may, the debate in Congress rages on and Democrats attempted to add two amendments to the legislation that just seem like common sense no matter what party with which you align.

The first amendment that was defeated by Republicans was proposed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and would have prohibited oil that was pumped through the pipeline from being exported and sold on the global market. Makes sense, right? After all, aren’t Republicans partially selling this to the American people as a “path to energy independence”? We can’t really call this a “boost to domestic oil reserves” if we’re allowing it to be pumped through our country and sold globally to the highest bidder.

As most of us already know, the GOP’s claim that this pipeline will help America become less dependent on foreign oil is complete nonsense. That’s just a talking point that they feed to conservatives who apparently have no idea how oil is bought and sold internationally.


Then the second amendment that was defeated by Republicans came from Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). It would have required that all of the steel used to construct the pipeline be American made. Haven’t Republicans been pushing this as a “job creator” (even though it’s not) since this whole debate started? So, when a Senator proposes an amendment stating that if we end up building this pipeline, the steel used for its construction must be “Made in America” – Republicans vote against that?

And while Republicans will most certainly try to spin the truth as to why they voted against these two amendments (though I’m almost certain you won’t hear anything about either on Fox News), the truth of the matter is big oil would not have liked either of them and we all know the GOP is nothing more than a shill for big oil companies.

This entire project has been an absolute joke from the very beginning. It’s not a job creator, nor is it a step toward energy independence; it’s just another pipeline big oil wants so they can make billions of dollars selling their oil to the highest bidder on the global market. This is just the GOP doing what they always do – putting big oil ahead of the American people.



Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Jim Bean

    Keep in mind that all the votes to repeal Obamacare are a reflection of elected officials doing what they were elected to do – the will of the constituents who elected them – while what Obama was doing was ignoring the will of the people and saying ‘I know best.’

    • Mark Stone

      So what defense can you offer regarding the two amendments? Yep thought so you really don’t have one.

      • Gregory Mason

        The defense of the two amendments’ is very simple. Jobs for Americans. Oil for use by Americans. But, You knew that so tell me what you have against those two things

    • BobJThompson

      The topic is Keystone XL not Obamacare. Obamacare is another can of worms.
      Some of us expect to live on this planet for the next 40 years and would like to not see just how right the scientific predictions are.

      • Jim Bean

        In 40 (or so) years global warming won’t even be on your radar. You will be consumed with trying to get enough water to drink, the aquifers having been polluted by the toxic brew leaching from the mountain ranges of garbage landfills we are creating.

      • BobJThompson

        Did you just make a case for proper recycling and waste management also against mindless rampant consumerism?

      • Jim Bean

        I certainly did. I’m so old that half my life was lived before you could buy water in a plastic bottle. Back then your were forced to get it for free and drink it at the source or supply your own container to carry it around in.

        I survived.

      • BobJThompson

        The funniest thing about bottled water is that in my state most plastic and aluminum and glass get a refund for recycling. Yet water bottles don’t. What is the bottle too dirty to process? lol

        Bottled water is only helpful in natural disasters.

      • Andy Kinnard

        True about water, but I don’t think that will overshadow climate change. It’ll just be part of the constellation of consequences we’re tempting with all our wholesale rape of he Earth.

    • Cemetery Girl

      And the actual topic of this piece (and not just a little tangent) is the Republicans listening to the people that we want any oil from this to be sold to the highest global bidder and we would rather the cheapest steel that can be found used instead of assuring that it will be produced in the US, right?
      I’m actually more curious about the impact this pipeline would have on the jobs of US oil workers. With price per barrel down, and not projected to rise anytime soon, workers are being laid off. How is this “job creating” pipeline going to impact their job supply?

      • Jim Bean

        Its more a case of making the best decision under the circumstance. This Canadian oil is going to market one way or another. Blocking the pipeline will not stop it, it will just reroute it. It will have the same effect on American workers either way. The only variable is – either we get the pipe line jobs and the tax revenue (royalties) that it brings, or we don’t.

      • BobJThompson

        The plains gets all the risk from the inevitable spills, over one of the largest Aquifers in the country. And the Oil Barons reap all the benefits. Sounds like a win-win. Where can I sign up for this?

      • FD Brian

        the best thing to do is to build a refinery in the Dakotas to refine the products there, making it harder to ship the product outside of the US for our benefit,it would also create more jobs, it would also be wise to have production of some our fuel done outside of an area that can be hit by hurricanes.

      • Jim Bean

        What’s in that for Canada?

      • FD Brian

        they can sell their oil without the added cost of transporting by rail

      • Jim Bean

        We’re going to agree to take whatever amount they want to send to market?

      • Cemetery Girl

        True, the oil industry will access the oil either way. It probably shouldn’t be held up as a job creating opportunity though.

      • Jim Bean

        Perhaps. But we’d get royalties on the product flowing through it and it isn’t like we can’t use the money.

      • Ubiquitousnewt

        There are neither of note. You didn’t read the article at all, did you cracker?

      • Andy Kinnard

        With oil prices so low and the Saudis pledging to keep them that way, is the tar sands project still viable?

        Would the tax revenues be sufficient to offset the inevitable spill cleanup costs? Is so, by how much, and is that “how much” sufficient to risk impacts we can’t clean up. Will those tax revenues be sequestered such that taxpayers wouldn’t have to fund additional cleanup funds even though revenues that should be ear marked for cleanup had already been spent? After all those considerations, is there still enough residual benefit to the People? I don’t see how.

      • Joe DiPuccio

        The BEST DECISION is – what is in Canada should stay in Canada or be routed to the Canadian shores for export ! BUT even the Canadians DONT WANT IT ! There aren’t any royalties ! Just pollution being transported over environmentally sensitive land and waterways ! The risk to the U.S. Is not worth the 35 – 50 ? Jobs that it MIGHT CREATE !

    • William

      “the will of the constituents who elected them”
      You do understand that the President was elected by the largest amount of votes ever garnered by a president right?
      (Who am I kidding, you only know what Limbaugh and Fox dump into your skull).

    • Joe DiPuccio

      50 + votes in the House , to overturn a law that they knew up front , that they could not do , is a absolute waist of tax dollars and a betrayal of the public trust ! NOTHING NOBEL ABOUT THAT !

      • Jim Bean

        There most certainly IS something VERY nobel about it. The overwhelming majority of people did not want this law in place. Congressmen are elected by those people to do what those people want done – not to be handmaidens to the President. When they tried 50 times to overturn it they were diligently doing what they are paid to do. Good on them. Shame on Obie.

      • Andy Kinnard

        Every single one of those votes was wasted effort the GOP could have used to produce serious legislation aimed at job creation.

      • Joe DiPuccio

        If the Nobel Republicans would have used those 50 + votes to address constructive changes instead of total sabotage , then I could give them some credit for there attempts !!!!! HOWEVER there only gole was total destruction and sabotage with NO REPLACEMENT OR PLAN in place !

      • Jim Bean

        Obama made it plain he’d veto them all. You’re argument has no legs.

      • Joe DiPuccio

        I did said constructive ! Not repeal , remove , defund , or destroy !

  • keymanjim

    Does anyone have a link to the bill in question. I would like to read it without the spin.

    • Andy Kinnard

      I’d like to hear the rationale from even one Republican for blocking this amendment.

      • Andy Kinnard

        They’re saying that American labor “protectionism” is somehow inherently bad (a view which necessarily prioritizes international corporate interests over that of the People) and amounts to “crony capitalism”. We absolutely need to hang them with that rope.

      • Allan Erickson

        That is only true if something is being bought with my money. You are welcome to pay as much as you want.

      • Andy Kinnard

        What? Too many pronouns and vagaries.

  • Allan Erickson

    If they really wanted to drive up the cost, they would spec that the pipeline shall be built of inconel pipe and fittings manufactured in the state of Nebraska, no exceptions.

    • Andy Kinnard

      You’re presuming that the goal is to drive up costs. What if the goal is just to eek out the few possible up sides to a project that is likely a foregone conclusion (and otherwise terrible for the country)?

  • pinkimp68

    If building this pipeline in not a job creator, neither is rebuilding the infrastructure. Once the pipeline is complete most of the jobs disappear. Once the road or bridge is complete the jobs disappear. A job is a job, I don’t care if its for weeks, months or years.

  • Stacey Noel

    It is hard to take these articles seriously when they advertising shows some woman’s twat up in the air.

  • Wave Rider

    52% of the material is American made. Some of the parts are specialized components that are manufactured in China ie. Electronics. An amendment like that could kill the project. We stopped manufacturing long ago becaused we priced ourselves out.
    Why not put our oil on the world market? Our European friends need oil, especially since Putin has been flexing his muscle. Being selfish , hoarding an important commodity isn’t right. The pipeline that broke in yellowstone was made in the ’50s! It needs upgraded. Warren Buffet owns the railroad currently transporting the oil, big money.
    Man caused climate change is garbage. This planet was once a solid ball of ice. Hot and steamy in the Jurassic age. The Great Lakes are a recent formation caused by glaciers melting for thousands of years. We’ve been warming for a long time folks.
    Instead of us Americans at each others throats, we need to band together and fight this crushing debt politicians got us into by buying votes blowing our money on both sides of the isle and get back to our Constitutional roots that this country was built on. Out of control government programs the government has no buisness being in like education, retirement , healthcare, childcare and anything else that makes us dependent on them at a crushing cost gives them power over us. Personal responsibility and independence we are losing. Our very freedom.