GOP seeks to tie Keystone, gas exports to jobless benefits bill

Senate Republicans want the Keystone XL pipeline and natural gas exports to ride the coattails of unemployment benefits.

Republican Sens. John HoevenJohn HoevenCombating opioid epidemic, repealing ObamaCare will hurt the cause Senate panel considers how to fund Trump’s T infrastructure package A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (N.D.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoHow 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation Making water infrastructure a priority Overnight Energy: Trump's Keystone XL approval coming soon MORE (Wyo.), and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE (Alaska) on Tuesday proposed an amendment to the jobless aid bill that finds a path forward for Keystone and expedites natural gas export applications.

ADVERTISEMENT
The trio argues that between the $5.4 billion pipeline and liquified natural gas (LNG) exports, nearly 100,000 jobs would be created, and the U.S. could help Ukraine, NATO members, and Japan.

"As we consider an extension of Unemployment Insurance benefits, we should also be considering measures that will actually address the problem by creating jobs for the long-term unemployed," Hoeven said in statement on Tuesday.

"Our energy legislation could help create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. At the same time, expanding America’s energy supply with projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, combined with approval for increased LNG exports, will send a powerful signal to our friends and foes alike that America is both energy secure and that we stand firmly beside our allies in Ukraine and NATO," Hoeven added.

Murkowski cited the energy boom as a catalyst to change the country's energy outlook and further reason to send exports overseas.

However, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidAfter healthcare fail, 4 ways to revise conservative playbook Dem senator 'not inclined to filibuster' Gorsuch This obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all MORE said it remains highly unlikely any of the energy amendments proposed by Republicans will be agreed to by Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is also attempting to tie an amendment of his own aimed at the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed carbon emissions limits for new and existing coal-fired power plants to the unemployment bill, which may come to a final vote by Wednesday.

And Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is also floating an amendment that stops the Senate from considering legislation that would create a carbon tax on emissions for the country's biggest polluters.

“America’s most vulnerable families are the hardest hit by costly and burdensome energy policies like a carbon tax,” Blunt said in a statement.