Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Barack Obama hurts the nation's middle class by refusing to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
"In study after study, Americans have learned that building Keystone would produce significant economic benefits for our country, that it would lower energy prices, and that it would lead to the creation of thousands of jobs — at a time when we need them more than ever," the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
"President Obama's own administration has concluded that approving Keystone would not significantly impact net carbon emissions anyway," he said.
"Here's a project that the government has been studying for about five or six years now," McConnell added. "You can stop pushing legislation that would cut, rather than create, jobs, and you can stop blocking projects like Keystone, things that everyone knows will create jobs.
"Americans want jobs, not symbolism," McConnell said.
Earlier this month, the State Department said it would give government agencies more time to study the project, and the move was seen by strategists from both political parties as a move to prevent that and boost Obama in the eyes of supporters.
Support for the president, or lack of it, is generally reflected in midterm voter turnout.
Approval of the pipeline would also have risked dampening the enthusiasm of such wealthy donors as billionaire Democratic investor Tom Steyer, who plans to spend millions of dollars in this fall's congressional elections to support environmentally friendly candidates.
Republicans have criticized
the decision as yet another way for the White House to energize Obama's base amid fears the Democrats may lose control of the Senate this fall.
Last week, McConnell's likely opponent this fall, Kentucky's Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
, called on Obama to approve the TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline.
The $5.4 billion pipeline would carry oil from Canada through the Midwest to refineries in Texas.
In his floor remarks, McConnell cited how labor leaders have endorsed Keystone as a jobs creator, and charged that the administration has delayed a decision yet again because of "pressure from the far left."
"This is more about politics and symbolism, and the far left has apparently decided that killing Keystone is the symbolic scalp they want. They're demanding it.
"Washington Democrats seem perfectly willing to go along," McConnell said.
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