27.Cassidy teleconference

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 27, 2021

By Crystal Stevenson

cstevenson@americanpress.com

President Joe Biden “wasted no time going after energy jobs,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, told reporters Tuesday during a teleconference from his Washington, D.C., office.

“He killed the Keystone Pipeline, which will cost 11,000 jobs,” he said. “That also puts us as a thumb in the eye of Canada … they’re supposed to be one of our closest allies, and we just stuck it to them.”

On Jan. 20, Biden signed an order that revoked the permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline — a 875-mile pipeline that would carry a heavy crude oil mixture from Western Canada to Steele City, Neb., where it would connect with another leg stretching to Gulf Coast refineries.

Cassidy said a lot of the Keystone “produce” that comes down to the Gulf Coast is then “in an environmentally friendly way made into the kind of products that a modern economy needs.”

He said Biden is expected to next ban new permits for drilling in federal waters. He said the move will hurt America’s energy production and will cost American jobs.

“Energy will still be produced, and there will be jobs associated with it — but it won’t be in the Untied States. It will be in Russia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, a whole lot of other countries, but it won’t be here,” Cassidy said. “President Biden has just put a target on these energy jobs and that is bad for the worker, it’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for our country, it’s bad for the world. I’d like to think he’ll reconsider, but unfortunately I’m not optimistic.”

Cassidy said the move was “callous, destructive and counterproductive.”

Impeachment trial

Cassidy said as a juror, he will not prejudge the impeachment case against former President Donald Trump before he has heard the evidence.

Trump is charged with inciting the deadly insurrection at the Capitol two weeks before Biden’s inauguration.

“I’ll listen to the evidence and seek out as much as possible what the truth is and that will determine how I vote,” he said. “If there is evidence the president received an FBI briefing that people were putting out pipe bombs, as they did, and people were organizing violence with the intent to kill people, as they did, that will be worst-case scenario for the president. If on the other hand there is testimony the president didn’t know any of this and he’s basically just doing what you would do at a football game — ‘fight, fight, fight’ — that’s another side. I’m not going to prejudge, I’m going to look at the evidence.”

Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8.

Stimulus

Cassidy said he’s one of a handful of senators who have met with Biden on the proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“We all agree the top priority is getting shots in arms; getting people vaccinated and ending the pandemic is the fastest way to return to normal,” he said.

Because Congress passed a stimulus bill five weeks ago, Cassidy said he will need more justification before he will sign off on another one.

“An estimate released Tuesday reports the nations’s gross domestic product will grow by 2 percentage points this quarter more than it would have because of the stimulus package we just passed,” he said. “We have to ask ourselves if we need more stimulus if we are already more stimulated than we’ve been for quite some time.”

He said he doesn’t want the killing of the Keystone Pipeline and the reduction in oil and gas jobs to be used to push the stimulus along.

“They they’ll create a recession,” he said. “It won’t be because of COVID, it’s because of the energy policy killing American jobs. That would be the wrong reason to need a stimulus — because government is squashing the ability of Americans to earn a living through the free enterprise system.”