John Boehner is seems bound and determined to prove that by saying over and over again that the Keystone XL pipeline is a jobs bill, that it will become a jobs bill. But it is not a jobs bill. It is a make TransCanada Corp and the Kochs rich bill – it will even make Boehner himself a little richer in the process.
At his weekly press briefing yesterday, in what is surely news to everyone, Boehner said the House, which has since 2009 obsessed over everything but jobs, is “squarely focused on jobs and the economy” (did not know anti-abortion bills created jobs!) and that it is the “Democrats [who] are dragging their feet”:
Our focus continues to be on the people’s priorities, which means more jobs and higher wages. Our economy has certainly shown some signs of progress, but most families aren’t seeing this improvement in their day-to-day lives. That’s why we’ve already passed bills to: build the Keystone pipeline, which would create, according to the State Department, up to 42,000 jobs; expand natural gas exports, which would create 45,000 new jobs; help small businesses hire more veterans; and restore the 40-hour workweek to help get people working full-time again.
And while Republicans continue to focus squarely on jobs and the economy, the Democrats are dragging their feet.
When Secretary Kerry was sworn in, he guaranteed – and he used that word, ‘guaranteed’ – a fair, transparent and accountable review of the Keystone pipeline. But now, the State Department is stonewalling and refusing to answer basic questions about its review. I am calling on Secretary Kerry to address this issue, and immediately deliver the transparency and accountability that he promised the American people.
The Keystone pipeline is going to mean tens of thousands of American jobs, and we’ll soon put this bipartisan bill approving this project on the president’s desk. He should reconsider his veto, and sign this jobs bill.
This is an egregious abuse of facts. Boehner and his party are opposed to everything the American people want and need, including jobs and higher wages.
Remember, Boehner once said he would rather kill himself than raise the minimum wage. Obama has challenged Republicans to raise the minimum wage and they refuse to do so. That Boehner can even say this with a straight face is beyond belief. But the facts belie his apparent sincerity.
The State Department – which Boehner has already tried to bypass – is reviewing the Keystone XL Pipeline application and what they have to say on the matter can be seen here. What Boehner is upset about is that the State Department isn’t telling him what he wants to hear, when he wants to hear it.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, in particular, was not able to make Boehner a happier, wealthier man on Tuesday when she spoke to the media (transcript here):
QUESTION: Yesterday was the deadline for the agencies to submit their Keystone evaluations. Can you tell us what’s going on with that, what’s the next step? Is there a deadline, a timeline now that’s been restarted?
MS. PSAKI: Well, as you noted, yesterday the Department of State notified just a couple of weeks ago, January 16th, that the eight agencies would have until February 2nd to provide their views with regard to the Keystone pipeline permit application. That, of course, was yesterday. We will treat the agencies’ replies as part of an internal interagency process. They’re not mandated by the executive order to provide their views on the national interest regarding the proposed project, but we were required to request their views. There’s not a deadline or a timeline. Of course, their views will be factored into the consideration process.
QUESTION: Did all eight actually submit by the deadline?
MS. PSAKI: We’re not going to confirm. We treat them as internal recommendations.
What is interesting is that the State Department and the Obama administration as a whole are being accused of being less than transparent, when Boehner himself is bald-faced lying about the Pipeline being a jobs bill, and being less than transparent about his own economic interests in the building of the pipeline. Nobody in the mainstream media wants to talk about those issues at all. You would never know Boehner stood to make money off the project.
Boehner repeatedly claims that it will create 42,000 jobs. And yes, that number is in the State Department report but in a far different context. As The Washington Post fact-check ruled, “Using the State Department math, it’s safe to say nearly 4,000 construction jobs will be created, at least temporarily. One could even say that 16,000 jobs would be or have been supported from direct spending on the project…” But those jobs, such as they are, are temporary. As the Post points out, “the impact is barely a ripple” in the economy.
It will create 35 permanent jobs. Even if it did create 42,000 jobs, however, in November of last year alone some 321,000 jobs were created, and 257,000 more just in January of this year. It is not as though Keystone-related jobs are the only jobs in the offing, which seems to be Boehner’s implication. The moment Republicans blocked Democratic attempts to turn Keystone XL into a real jobs bill, Boehner’s deception was exposed, yet he acts like it never happened.
His plan to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) abroad is, like the pipeline, a sure-fire recipe for environmental disaster, polluting whatever the pipeline fails to pollute. Increased production also demands increased hydraulic fracking, something he is not eager to advertise. Fracking, because it is so harmful to humans and the environment, has been banned in Scotland an Wales and in 26 U.S. states.
What Boehner is actually saying is, “Hey, pass this legislation. I have huge profits at stake here!” All the while pretending he is doing it for us, and as though there is no conflict of interest at all.
Boehner has completely turned the tables on reality, positing Obama as the blockage in our economic recovery, when in fact it has been the House that has blocked every attempt by Obama to undo the damage wrought by the Bush administration in 2008.
Boehner’s words might resonate with the Fox News viewer, comfortably set in their alternate reality bubble, but he is speaking to the entire world and it is difficult to imagine at this point that this weekly charade is anything but political theater with the purpose of providing ready-made sound bites for Fox News’s endless feedback loop of deception.
Updated [12:35 pm] to reflect January job gains.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.