Louisiana Senate Race of Keystone, Potholes, Pipelines, and Same Ole…

Whether in favor or against, it seems that many of the most vocal have little factual understanding about the Keystone Pipeline. By understanding, I’m referring to the route, the type of oil, and the intent of the product post the refinery process.

Here I am not debating pros or cons or delving into the history of this proposal. I’m using the pipeline as sadly another example to illustrate the ridiculous nature of our current partisanship.

One article in today’s edition of The Hill begins,

“The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Wednesday to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, delivering a rebuke to President Obama.All Republicans on the panel voted to clear the pipeline, joined by Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (La.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), two Democrats in energy-heavy states, in a 12-10 vote.”

Another Hill article reads,

“In an election year with control of the Senate up for grabs, Sen. Mary Landrieu isn’t getting a break on issues that she and Republicans would otherwise agree on, such as the Keystone XL pipeline.The GOP on Wednesday slammed the vulnerable Louisiana Democrat, who sits as chairwoman on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, for scheduling what they dubbed a “show vote” on the $3.4 billion oil-sands project.”

Politics as usual some might say:

I agree, but it’s the hypocrisy that sticks out to me.

The GOP and “conservatives” like to promote the lessening of Federal government influence on the states and people. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. It depends on who has a voice in the states, whether the people have similar opportunities to present their positions and to act upon them, and exactly what is the purpose for Federal involvement. Simply, will opposing sides be able to operate without corrupting influences, intimidation, and so on. If things are more or less balanced and by that I mean opportunities available to one are also available to another, I see less of a need for any outside influence be it the Federal government or something else.

Why is it in this case that the GOP wants the Federal government to usurp the rights of the people in the state of Nebraska? I’m not familiar with Nebraska laws or its state government, but my understanding is that an approval process exists where the opposing factions will each be able to prevent their arguments. That process, however, takes time. Instead of waiting to see how the process plays out, many are calling for Federal intervention.

The conservative Washington Times wrote about the role of Nebraska.

Bloomberg features another perspective but with a similar summation of points.

Let’s tie in another action in the US Senate today.

The Hill headline reads:  “Senators propose raising the gas tax for the first time since 1993.”

The proposal’s intent is to address the fast approaching shortfall in the Federal Highways Fund. It is bipartisan with sponsorship by Senators Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, and Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee. The House has its own proposal regarding the Federal Highways Fund shortfall which would utilize funds from the cancelling of Saturday mail service to fund highway repairs.

Since GOP Members of Congress have signed the Norquist Pledge, the tax increase would be combined with many specific tax breaks permanent. You can read of the pledge from ABC here and Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform page here.

Am I the only one who sees that in return for an increase of 12 cents per gallon in gas and diesel cost which will be experienced at the pump and most likely in an increase of products and services transported, specific groups will receive tax breaks? The other Congressional option is to take money from an agency already bleeding money to use toward our infrastructure.

At least Obama has alluded to giving individual states some power in the matter by a possibility of easing the restrictions on toll roads on existing highways.

Still, I would only favor tolls as lagniappe with the Federal Highways Fund being made more efficient and funded through the closing of existing credits and breaks enjoyed by a small portion of the private sector.

Yep, the United States of America where the side which refers to itself as patriots wants the Federal government to enforce its will on an individual state so that a Canadian country can have its pipeline. A Congress where additional taxes or simply changing the direction of a money leak is acceptable as long as selected individuals receive corresponding breaks. An issue of such vital urgency that opponents lambast Mary Landrieu for not using her seniority and position to push for a vote, and yet when that vote occurs opponents attack her because the vote was only for “show.”

I guess I should take solace that this “show vote” was merely a committee votes which costs taxpayers like you and me far less than the “show votes” to repeal ACA over in the House.

I’m not comforted by that but at least Congressman Bill Cassidy from my birthplace district who is running against Landrieu for the US Senate seat from Louisiana favors a committee vote on Keystone to push for a vote by the full Senate to impose the Federal government’s will on the people of Nebraska in support of a Canadian company. Sorry, since the vote is now past tense he apparently believes that committee vote was unnecessary and there must be a more logical way to impose the Federal government’s will on Nebraska to support a foreign company. I wonder if he will be calling for an Executive Order from the President?

Actually, I think he and most candidates in Louisiana will wait to see which outside special interest group will provide the most money to their campaign. Has any candidate for Federal office in Louisiana this election cycle actually used funding garnered from within the state? Seriously every advertisement I’ve seen to this point has come from some special interest group headquartered outside the Bayou State.