Republicans Already Showing Weakness on Keystone Pipeline
Well, that didn’t take long. Just one week into the conference committee on the highway bill, Republicans are showing signs of caving on their insistence that the Keystone pipeline be approved as part of the deal.
Throughout the past few months, we have been chronicling how Republicans have been apathetic to the underlying vices of the highway bill (S. 1813). They basically told the Democrats in committee that they have every intention of passing the Senate bill; they just want a provision approving the Keystone pipeline as part of the agreement. As any negotiator that lacks the credulousness of a toddler understands, once you take your bargaining chip off the table, the other side has no reason to give in. Since Republicans have guaranteed Democrats that the tax and spend highway bill is too big to fail, Democrats will wait them out until they agree to jettison the Keystone provision. And that is exactly what is happening.
Take a look at these quotes from The Hill:
Republicans are pressing for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a final House-Senate transportation bill but appear unlikely to draw a line in the sand that jeopardizes the infrastructure legislation.
While the proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline is a top GOP and oil-industry priority, Republicans might have incentive to keep the matter unresolved, enabling them to continue using Keystone as a political weapon during the campaign season. […]
“The overall Republican conference position is not to sink the conference report over [Keystone XL], however, as keeping that issue alive through the elections is also acceptable,” an oil industry source told The Hill.
Let’s be straight: the Keystone pipeline should never be used to pass bad legislation. It’s just humorous to watch these guys capitulate on their one line in the sand. As we’ve noted before, there are numerous problems with the underlying bill:
This is just the tip of the iceberg of this 1676-page bill. It also serves as a stark reminder why we should not lock up authority for all transportation responsibility in Washington. This is not a bill we should support in any shape or form – Keystone or no Keystone.