By: Congressman Tim Huelskamp
Is it possible for this administration to be any more anti-jobs? From the fiscal policy of deficit spending - which scares small businesses about the prospects of higher taxes - to its addiction to overregulation to its energy policy, President Obama repeatedly displays his disdain for any job creator except for the government.
But, perhaps the biggest demonstration of his desire to sustain the record levels of unemployment happened this last week when he denied the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Never mind that more than 20 million Americans are out of work or looking for more. Never mind that 46 million Americans have to rely on food stamps to feed their families. Never mind that gas prices have increased 82 percent - and doubled at their peak - since January 2009.
Although the part of the pipeline that is in Kansas is already constructed, the remaining parts to be built would have resulted in the direct creation of 20,000 jobs and 118,000 spin-off jobs. Before I am accused of fuzzy math, let me say that those estimates have been endorsed by Democrats in a letter to the President.
I hosted a telephone town hall the evening that the Obama Administration decided to block the permit, and 93 percent of the participants disagreed the President's decision. In fact, 84% did so strongly!
I am not surprised that most Kansans are disappointed. When the Kansas portion of the pipeline was built, many of our local communities saw considerable economic gain from the construction. Places like Clay Center and businesses there like Bud's Tire Service experienced firsthand the positive impact this type of development can have.
Not only are Kansans disappointed for the pass the President made on job creation and economic activity, but also because of what it means for our national security.
While the U.S. would still not be energy independent as a result of this pipeline with Canada - our friend and neighbor to the north - this is a far more ideal arrangement than importing more from the Middle East. While Americans are not smiling about this arrangement, the Chinese certainly are. China has already expressed its willingness to take the oil and refine it.
In opposing the pipeline, the President argued there was not enough time to conduct an "environmental impact study." What a cop-out! More than three years have passed since the application for the pipeline was filed; this Administration has had plenty of time to do the research it believed was necessary. His own State Department even gave the green light for the permit, yet the President singlehandedly stopped it. He singlehandedly kept 20,000 Americans from going back to work.
How anyone could want to deny America this obvious boost to the economy, workforce, and our national security is beyond me. It seems as if the only beneficiary of this decision is the President's campaign account. Only his high-dollar donors - those who can afford expensive electric cars subsidized by the taxpayer - are reveling in this news. The rest of America will have to suffer the consequences of continued high unemployment, expensive gas, and reliance on oil from unstable trading partners.
Rest assured, in the coming weeks, I will be working closely with both other Republicans and many Democrats to explore and pass options that allow these Americans to go back to work.