February 3, 2015—Hello, everybody, and thank you for tuning in. The Senate just had a recent vote on Keystone and the pro-Keystone Pipeline people won 62 to 36. It’s a very good victory. It required nine Democrats coming over, and yet it isn’t quite enough to override a veto.
My bet is that the President’s probably going to stick to his guns. He’s not going to back down now and not veto it. The big question is whether any more Democrats would come over. The only reason they might is for political benefit and thinking that it’s a dangerous vote to vote against the pipeline. But it looks like the president will veto this. The bill still has to go into conference and it has to be reconciled with the House vote, but I don’t think that’s as big a problem as facing the veto.
One thing about this whole issue is that I think the president has way too much power. The president shouldn’t be able to say, “Oh, there will be a pipeline or there won’t be a pipeline.”
We’ve drifted so far from how issues like this should be handled. It says very clearly in the Constitution that for international trade, the Congress is in charge, not the president. The president is not the dictator and yet they assume that and the President has this power. There are eight U.S. Federal agencies that deal with this: environmental agencies and labor organizations and they all have to reconcile this. So the president ends up with a lot of power. That’s one of our problems why this has been delayed so long. The president has too much power.
The Congress should, under constitutional circumstances, the Congress could pass a bill and say that it’s permissible for Canada and such-and-such state to work out an agreement to have a pipe come across the international border. It wouldn’t be any more complicated than that. There’s been pipes crossing the borders for years. There are hundreds of thousands of pipes laid in this country. Texas is literally swarming with pipelines and this has been blown up, I think for environmental reasons as much as anything.
During the debate the question of eminent domain came up. I’ve been very interested in that because I do not believe that for practical reasons or constitutional reasons that you should have eminent domain powers to serve the interests of private groups. I don’t think it was meant to do that. Unfortunately, the Kelo ruling by the Supreme Court said that it was constitutional to take property for the benefit of commercial interests.
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