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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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Monday, May 07, 2012

Unions Support Keystone XL Pipeline; Conservatives Oppose Corporate Welfare (Ex-Im Bank)

Today in Washington, D.C. - April 7, 2012
The Senate will reconvene today and resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2343, a bill dealing with federal student loan interest rates. At 4:30 PM, the Senate will take up and vote on the the nominations of Jacqueline Nguyen to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit and two district court nominees. Tomorrow, a noon vote is scheduled on cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 2343.

This week, a House-Senate Conference Committee will meet to work out compromises on legislation reauthorizing federal transportation programs.

This week, the House will vote on legislation H.R. 4966, The Sequester Replacement Act of 2012 and The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, to partially replace the first year of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts resulting from last summer’s debt ceiling agreement with targeted spending cuts. The term "sequester,” are across-the-board spending cuts set in motion by last summer’s agreement to raise the debt ceiling. Conservative members of the House would prefer to see more of the spending reductions occur this year, but they may have to consider enacting targeted cuts to prevent the "sequester" from punching a dangerous hole in the Armed Forces’ funding and its ability to defend the U.S.

This week, the House has a full schedule. It will debate the first of 12 bills to permit the federal government to spend money during the 2013 fiscal year. The bill is H.R. 5326 which provides funding for Commerce, Justice and Science programs.

The Corporate Welfare Bill: The House will also debate H.R. 2072 the re-authorization of the Export-Import (Ex-IM) Bank and raising the agency’s statutory lending cap by 40% from $100 billion to $140 billion. The Ex-Im Bank is a form of corporate welfare. It provides subsidized financing to foreigners who buy American products, mostly from large companies like Boeing and GE.

Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the Conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) noted that there are "definite parallels of the Ex-Im Bank to the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the housing market." Readers may recall a few of the prior stories posted by the ARRA News Service on this topic. Below 4 prior articles providing additional detail:
Rep. Jordan also noted the following, "My colleagues who support the agency say it creates jobs and makes money for the government. As the independent Congressional Research Service has noted, however, economists generally believe that government subsidized export financing merely shifts jobs from one sector to another without increasing the end number of jobs. Additionally, the economic policy think tank E21 recently determined that taxpayers are actually losing money if you subject Ex-Im financing to the 'fair value' accounting used in the private sector. Given these facts, plus the questionable constitutionality of the federal government participating in (not just regulating) commerce, I intend to vote against the Ex-Im legislation."

We can only hope that others will also oppose this bill but until more people are elected who will stop supporting un-constitutional or questionable bills, be they for corporate, public or personal welfare, the United States will continue on the fast track to bankruptcy like Greece.

Other bills the House may consider under "suspension of the rules":
  • H.R. 4097, John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2012
  • H.Con.Res. 117 Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service
  • H.Con.Res. 118, Concurrent resolution authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the District of Columbia Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run
  • H.Con.Res. 106, Concurrent resolution authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the Greater Washington
  • H.Con.Res. 105, Authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha
  • Senate Amendment to H.R. 229, To promote the development of the Southwest waterfront in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes
  • S. 1302, A bill to authorize the Administrator of General Services to convey a parcel of real property in Tracy, California, to the City of Tracy
  • H.R. 4133, United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, as amended - Technical Changes
  • H.R. 2072, Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011, as amended
The Unions are Supporting the XL-Pipeline. Expect the president to do a 180 on the approval of the pipeline so as to assure continued support of his campaign by the union bosses. The Hill reports today, “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is backing construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in comments that downplay divisions among unions in the labor federation over the controversial project. . . . ‘I think we are all unanimous by saying we should build the pipeline, but we have to do it consistent with all environmental standards, and I think we can work that out, I really do, and we are for that happening,’ Trumka said in [a C-SPAN] interview that aired Sunday.”

The story notes, “The comments could provide a political lift to advocates of the proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, a project that has increasingly been at the center for election-year political battles over energy. . . . Trumka’s comments in recent months – including the weekend statement of support on C-SPAN – appear to go further than his remarks about the project in a January speech on energy and climate change. . . . Many unions including the Laborers’ International Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Teamsters, the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and others strongly back construction of Keystone, calling it a way to create jobs.”

Meanwhile, yet another newspaper editorial board has said that President Obama is running out of excuses for his continued opposition to the pipeline. The Denver Post editors write, “The case for the pipeline has always been compelling if environmental concerns could be satisfied, and now that case is even stronger. If the president is re-elected this fall, it's hard to see how his administration could be justified in again finding grounds to deny a permit for the project, as it did earlier this year.” Further, they admit that “Republicans . . . have the better arguments on the merits of the pipeline . . . .”

The state of Nebraska has worked with TransCanada to create a new route through the state that is designed to avoid environmentally sensitive areas, and the company has submitted a new permit to the State Department for approval. So even the minor issues the White House has given as excuses for blocking the pipeline are on their way to being resolved.

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday, “With millions of Americans out of work in the Obama economy and a growing need for a stable supply of energy, the President turned his back on the Keystone XL pipeline that would have helped with both. The Obama administration cited a need for a new application from TransCanada and a new route in Nebraska. Now that he has both, what will his excuse be?

“At a moment when tensions are rising in the Middle East, millions of Americans are struggling to find work and millions more are struggling with the rising cost of gas, the Obama administration’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline shows how deeply out of touch they are with the concerns of middle-class Americans. When it comes to delays over Keystone, anyone looking for a culprit should look no further than the Oval Office.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., U.S. Senate, US House, Unions, Support Keystone XL Pipeline, Conservatives, Oppose Corporate Welfare, Ex-Im Bank To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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