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GOP targets Democrats over lost pipeline jobs

Kerry Picket of the Washington Examiner highlights one political impact of the Biden administration’s effort to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order revokes the permit that was granted to TC Energy Corporation for the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed 875-mile pipeline, years in the making, would carry a heavy crude oil mixture from Western Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect with another leg stretching to Gulf Coast refineries.

The administration of President Donald Trump approved the project, but Biden nixed it because, it said, a pipeline rupture posed imminent environmental threats. But for House Republicans, within striking distance of winning a House majority in 2022, it’s an opportunity to paint the Biden administration as a job-killer. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP campaign arm, argues the change will cost many American jobs.

“House Democrats are going to pay the price for their job-killing, anti-energy agenda,” Emmer told the Washington Examiner in a statement.

Keystone is part of a broader House GOP strategy of challenging Democratic lawmakers and candidates on energy policies. While the Biden administration argues a climate crisis is urgent and must be dealt with immediately, Republicans contend thousands of jobs are at stake in the shift away from traditional energy extraction methods.

The NRCC is hitting several House Democrats from Texas for not opposing the Biden administration more vocally over fracking, including Reps. Colin Allred, Henry Cuellar, Lizzie Fletcher, and Vicente Gonzalez.

Democrats hold a slim House majority since Republicans surprised political observers and flipped over a dozen House seats in the 2020 election cycle. There are currently 211 Republicans, 221 Democrats, and three vacancies in the House, with 217 votes considered a majority until there’s a full roster of lawmakers again.

Republicans are already targeting seats where they think Democrats will feel the heat for backing Biden’s halt of Trump administration support for Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as ban fracking on federal lands.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...