Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight On The Money: Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight | Landlords, housing industry sue CDC to overturn eviction ban Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight MORE (R-Ky.) called on President Obama Monday to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The president needs to step up and lead,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “Is President Obama on the side of the middle class, or is he on the side of left-wing special interests?”


McConnell’s comments came after a State Department report was released Friday. The report said the pipeline wouldn’t do significant harm to the environment, though environmentalists disagree.

“Here’s a project that essentially wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime to build, that would have almost no net environmental effect, and that would put thousands of Americans to work right away,” McConnell said. “Yet, the President has delayed and delayed for more than five years now. Not because the project really needs to be studied further, but because of pressure from the most doctrinaire fringe of the doctrinaire left.”

McConnell said Obama should also “pick up the phone” and talk to congressional leaders in his own party who are obstructing progress on trade deals with Asia and Europe. He said both the trade bill and Keystone would help the economy by generating jobs.

“America’s middle class is hurting,” McConnell said. “The very least Washington can do for them is approve job-creating initiatives like Keystone and enhancing American exports.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Canada through the United States to refineries in Texas. Environmentalists have voiced concerns about potential pipe leaks and that it would increase U.S. consumption of oil rather than switching to cleaner energies.