#TimeToBuild

Today, the House will pass S. 1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. This is a significant accomplishment that highlights the common sense solutions that this Congress is focused on achieving.

Because of the overwhelming bipartisan and bicameral support, the President’s signing this into law should be a foregone conclusion, capping a long and drawn out six-year process.

However, whether because he’s bowing to outside pressures, or because he doesn’t comprehend the long-term benefits of the pipeline, early indications are that the President will kill the bill.

In fact, he and Administration officials won’t stop saying that the Keystone Pipeline will create “only 35 permanent jobs.” This is nonsense and doesn’t reflect that this kind of project lays the groundwork for substantial growth in an industry desperately in need of change.

Imagine if President Abraham Lincoln had vetoed the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 or President John F. Kennedy had foregone his famous declaration to go to the Moon because not enough ‘permanent jobs’ would be created. Fortunately, these watershed accomplishments in American history were fueled by leaders who understood that advances in industry and technology were vital to continued economic growth.

When construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad ended, so did many of the railroad jobs, but over 145 years later we are still reaping the benefits of that great achievement. And there is no doubt that the immeasurable technological advancements from NASA’s Space Program were a boon to this Nation, and to the rest of the World.

While Keystone’s long-term impacts remain to be seen, it is an important private sector initiated and funded infrastructure project that will provide an estimated boost of $3.4 billion towards the nation’s economy, and in limiting oil imports from the Middle East, it at the very least gives us a much-needed economic catalyst and a major step towards energy independence.

In Arkansas alone, the project has already provided more than 600 jobs at Welspun Tubular, LLC, headquartered in Little Rock, and completion of the pipeline would provide thousands more for hardworking Americans across the country.

Whether ‘permanent’ or not, all of these jobs will give Americans the access to the additional capital needed to help rejuvenate our entrepreneurial spirit. In a time when wages are stagnant and the middle class is shrinking, how can we afford run away from an opportunity to enter the next frontier of economic development?

After today’s vote, Congress’s resounding message will be that we want a true, all-of-the-above energy policy that boosts our goal of North American energy independence, benefits consumers, creates jobs, protects our environment, and preserves our natural resources.

Hopefully this message will not fall on deaf ears at the White House.

— Rep. French Hill (R-AR)

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