The instability in Iraq means the United States needs the Keystone XL pipeline more than ever to decrease the country's dependency on foreign oil, said Sen. John Barrasso.
"We are too dependent on other sources of energy. We have an incredible opportunity and resources in the United States, in terms of the Keystone pipeline, in terms of our natural gas," the Wyoming Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday.
The Iraqi government is embroiled in a conflict with Islamic militant insurgents who continue to overtake broad swaths of the country. Over the past several months, militants have seized the cities of Mosul, Tikrit, and Tal Afar, and threaten the capital of Baghdad.
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Barrasso said he fears energy prices in the United States would skyrocket due to the conflict in Iraq. While the Keystone pipeline could enhance the nation's energy production, he said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn't allow a vote on the measure.
"Harry Reid could have taken this to the Senate floor weeks ago. He has chosen not to. I think the reason is he knows it would pass, and [President Barack Obama] can't allow it to pass," Barrasso said.
Obama is hesitating on the pipeline because "he's being held hostage by [environmental] extremists," Barrasso said, adding that the president is influenced by large Democratic donors like Tom Steyer, who he called the "hundred million dollar man."
Reid had not only thwarted efforts by Republicans who had submitted amendments to legislation, but had not allowed "Democrats to vote on their amendments," Barrasso said. Reid was blocking votes on amendments "at the direction of the White House."
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