Rep. Kevin Cramer told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" he expected the House to vote Friday on legislation he's introducing to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
"It's going to happen. We're going to bring it up onto the floor in a rather expedited fashion this week. The rule will be debated, probably in the rules committee tomorrow, be on the floor Thursday. And, I expect we'll have debate and a final vote on Friday and send it over to the Senate," the North Dakota Republican said Tuesday.
Cramer said he wasn’t aware of any communication with the White House over the legislation, but was optimistic because President Barack Obama had not been "wielding the veto pen in front of us before we even have the debate."
"I'd have to say I'm somewhat encouraged by the fact that he hasn't issued a veto threat yet, I guess. When you're looking for incremental progress, that's a little bit of progress," he said.
White House objection
to the pipeline has included the argument that the project didn't include a significant number of permanent jobs. Cramer countered that the economic impact was substantial, and the pipeline also benefited the country from a security perspective.
"I can tell you it's a significant job growth opportunity. It's not just the permanent jobs, the welders, the backhoe operators, the truck drivers, which are all great, but the local restaurants and retailers and hotels that, actually, you know, thrive and survive as a result of the construction itself.
"The issues are far beyond that even. When we think about national security we think about energy security . . . I think the Keystone pipeline represents an opportunity to take more control and, perhaps, be the price maker rather than the price taker, stabilize prices at an appropriate level, at least not be so susceptible to what the OPEC nations want the price to be," he said.
Cramer explained Speaker of the House John Boehner had the "hardest job in politics in America, if not in the world," and said he supported him in his challenge to hang onto his leadership position from fellow Republicans Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho.
Cramer also said he supported Obama's recent announcement that the U.S. would open diplomatic ties with Cuba, and maintained "53 years of isolation is long enough to demonstrate that it doesn't work."
"I'm with him on the Cuba thing, and I look forward to, hopefully, working with him in the Congress to forward that what I think is an appropriate goal," he said.
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