Sessions: Keystone Underscores How President Is Harming Middle Class

“[The Keystone Pipeline] is precisely, precisely the kind of thing that this Congress should take action on… because it will create jobs, lots of jobs, create wealth, make us more secure as a nation, and help bring down the cost of energy… yet the president has blocked the pipeline construction for some time, deferring a decision now until after the next election…

There’s a lot of things that we can do that will not cost this Treasury a dime… It’s time, indeed, for a middle-class agenda… we don’t need more dishonest spending… the net beneficiary of all this seems to have been the political class, not the middle class.”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate floor today to discuss President Obama’s decision to block the Keystone Pipeline and how his policies are diminishing opportunity for hardworking taxpayers:

On the debt:

“One of the greatest threats to the American economy is the debt that hangs over us like a cloud. It’s inhibiting growth and investment and prosperity. We’ve got to get this nation on a sustainable path, not the unsustainable path we are on and I’ve been disappointed, frankly, at the leadership of the president. I think he’s not understood this, and he’s believed that the way to do it is through Keynesian governmental borrowing, taxing and spending. That’s just not the way to get out of this fix.”

On health care:

“Consider a few of the biggest challenges we face. One of them is the health care law. Promises were made, the president insisted it would reduce health care costs but premiums increased $2,200 per family since 2008. And the Congressional Budget Office warned us that this healthcare bill was not going to bring down costs. And in fact the bill has brought up costs. That’s money out of the pocket of American families.”

On blocking American energy production:
“One of the most dramatic things that’s coming up before us today is the Keystone Pipeline. This is precisely, precisely the kind of thing that this Congress should take action on… because it will create jobs, lots of jobs, create wealth, make us more secure as a nation, and help bring down the cost of energy. And lower-cost energy is one of the best possible ways to create even more jobs in America… this construction project alone would add 20,000 American workers, high-paid American workers, jobs not funded by additional debt that we borrow in the United States, to try to artificially create jobs. Real construction jobs and it would likely lead, experts tell us, to the creation of more than 100,000 jobs overall… This plan to build a pipeline is supported by a bipartisan coalition, Democrats and Republicans, including many Democratic governors such as Montana governor Brian Schweitzer, along with a number of Democratic senators here in the Congress. It’s not a partisan issue.”

On regulations:
“Also burdensome, intrusive regulations have undermined job creation and hurt small businesses… In fact, over 180,000 jobs will be lost each year from 2012 to 2020 as a result of just four EPA rules that impact the regulatory structure of the electric industry. These are dramatic events. It would cost the Treasury of the United States not a dime to not follow through on these dramatic rules, one of which is the Boiler MACT rule that I’ve never heard [such] concern from my constituents [as] over that rule.”

On illegal labor depressing wages:
“I also believe that a time of high unemployment, we need to be sure that the immigration laws of this country are enforced. The very idea that we should relax our laws and shouldn’t insist that they be enforced at a time when we’ve got almost 9 percent unemployment makes no sense to me. We need to get American workers working, not importing workers to take jobs from Americans. We have to protect our legitimate national interest.”

On abusive trade practices:
“President Obama has continued to ignore China’s abusive currency evaluation process which undermines the rule of law and is designating American manufacturing. I was pleased to work with my Democratic colleagues in the Senate to pass legislation that would require the government to respond to legitimate complaints of businesses who can prove that they have been damaged by the deliberate manipulation of China’s currency. You can’t have a good trading relationship with a country that’s cheating you, that’s not playing by the rules… [Some say,] ‘oh, if they sell us cheaper products and put our businesses out of work and close them down and lay off thousands of workers, we should just thank them because we’ll get a cheaper product.’ I don’t go for that… if we stood up and protected our workers on the world competitive stage and backed them up and ensured our businesses have fair trade, we’d create jobs without adding to the debt.”

On Democrats’ refusal to offer a budget plan:
“The sad fact is that we’ve now—this day, we have gone 961 days without a budget. That shows, I think, the irresponsibility of this Congress. I was disappointed when the Democratic leader in the Senate said it would be foolish to even attempt to bring up a budget this year and he was not going to do it for the second year. And this is really, really dangerous. A country that’s suffering the greatest debt and deficits we’ve ever had—to not have a budget is utterly and totally unacceptable.”

On pursuing a real middle-class agenda:
“It’s time indeed, for a middle-class agenda, an agenda that helps and strengthens this country. We don’t need more dishonest spending, politicians promising favors, promising to give people something that the government doesn’t have to give, spending money we don’t have to try to buy votes with it. We don’t need any more of that.”