On Tuesday, President Obama tyrannically reached for his Veto Pen™ for the third time during his Presidency and vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline bill, leaving the controversial undertaking floating at sea on a piece of driftwood, surrounded by a school of sharks, and without hope of rescue anytime soon.
“The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously,” Obama said in his veto message to the Senate. “But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that Republicans would attempt to override the President’s veto by March 3, Republicans lack four votes that would be needed in order to muscle past the awesome power of Barack Obama’s Veto Pen.
Despite their seeming inability to overcome the veto, Reuters reports that Republicans plan to attach language approving the pipeline to a spending bill or other legislation that President Obama would have difficulty vetoing.
Carrot-colored Speaker of the House John Boehner was apoplectic upon hearing that Obama did exactly what he promised to do. In a statement on his web site, Boehner complained:
“The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment. It’s embarrassing when Russia and China are plowing ahead on two massive pipelines and we can’t get this one no-brainer of a project off the ground. The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America’s workers. He’s too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that’s put the national interest first.
“For the president, Keystone may just be today’s politics, but there are workers and unions who have spent years counting on the 42,000 jobs this project will support. There are small business owners counting on the promise and opportunities this project will bring to their towns. There are governors in both parties counting on the revenue and growth this project will bring to their states. There are manufacturers clamoring for the development of North America’s resources. And there’s an overwhelming majority of Americans who want us to put politics aside and get this done.
Of course, Boehner neglected to mention that he was practicing flat-out deception about the number of jobs Keystone XL would create, as well as the fact that most of those jobs would be temporary.
Politifact points out that:
Over the course of up to two years of construction, the State Department estimates a total of 42,100 jobs “would be supported by construction of the proposed project.” Some jobs are directly tied to the pipeline and construction. Other jobs are simply a nature of how spending $8 billion ripples out into the economy. And more than 99 percent are temporary.
The State Department figures construction would require around 10,400 seasonal workers for stretches that would last either four or eight months. This works out to 3,900 “average annual” jobs over one year of construction, or 1,950 jobs each year if the project takes two years to finish. Construction work would be spread over four states, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, though most workers would be specialized and need to be brought in from outside those states, the report notes.
TransCanada counts direct job creation a little differently, estimating about 9,000 overall positions for construction and manufacturing. These are not measured on an average annual basis, but on an overall basis. TransCanada argues this makes more sense because the nature of construction work is for contractors to move from one job to the next, even if it does not last for a year at a time.
In the end, the Keystone XL pipeline would create a mere 50 permanent jobs.
“I haven’t used the veto pen very often since I’ve been in office, partly because legislation that I objected to was typically blocked in the Senate even after Republicans took over the House,” Obama told NPR last year. “Now I suspect there are going to be some times where I’ve got to pull that pen out.”
“The old saying goes the pen is mightier than the sword, and in these days we don’t use swords anymore, we use pens,” said Bryan Fournier, Vice President of Operations at Cross Pens, the company that forged Barack Obama’s mighty weapon.
The company designed the pen for Obama, who is left handed, so the President could see the seal and his signature while he crushes the hopes and dreams of conservatives.
Learn more about Barack Obama’s Veto Pen, below:
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