At the White House press briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that President Obama would not sign a bipartisan bill authorizing the construction of the Keystone-XL Pipeline.
Earnest was then asked whether President Obama’s first veto threat “raises questions” about his unwillingness to work with the new Republican controlled Congress.
Earnest answered citing the administration’s “long held view” opposing Keystone:
“I guess, based on the construction of your question, maybe it raises questions about the willingness of Republicans to actually cooperate with this administration, when you consider the very first bill that’s introduced in the United States Senate is one the Republicans know the president opposes.”
First of all, let’s clear up a couple of points. The Keystone Pipeline bill was supported by a bipartisan group of 59 senators in a vote in November 2014. This was not a purely partisan effort.
Furthermore, as the White House was announcing their first veto, the 114th Congress had just been gaveled into session. Even before the new Congress had even been sworn in, the White House had rejected a key agenda item.
In the face of their antagonism, the White House still attempted to claim this rejection of a bipartisan piece of legislation was an example of Republican obstructionism. This assertion followed President Obama’s executive action on immigration late last year, which bypassed Congress altogether.
It is quite the logical leap for the White House to claim that President Obama’s repeated actions ignoring, bypassing, and confronting Congress since the midterm elections show anything but openness or a willingness to compromise.