“Americans don’t want to get their oil from the Middle East anymore,” Hoeven said on the floor Thursday. “They want to get it here.”
Hoeven argued that the construction of the pipeline would not only help the U.S. become more energy independent, but also creates jobs and boosts the economy.
The administration has delayed ruling on whether to approve construction of the pipeline for more than 1,000 days. Republicans have accused President Obama of bending to the will of liberal environmentalists, who say the pipeline would harm the environment.
"You’d have to be asleep for the last 10-15 years to not believe that carbon pollution is dangerous to the planet," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said. "But when you listen to the debate I didn’t hear one person say carbon pollution is a problem. ... The Keystone pipeline will ship one of the dirtiest supplies of energy across the country."
Vulnerable Democrats in conservative states have co-sponsored Hoeven’s amendment. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), all running for reelection in 2014, signed on. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is also a co-sponsor.
"At the end of the day it’s about creating American jobs," Begich said. "It’s the right decision. I’m just somewhat perplexed by the administration's delay after delay."
The Senate is working on The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, S. 1392, which contains measures to boost building codes, train workers in energy efficient building technologies, help manufacturers become more efficient and bolster conservation efforts at federal agencies, among other provisions.