Obama Keystone Veto is Political Spite

It’s been six years since I originally authored the first legislation to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline. Since then, bipartisan support has grown and coalesced around a path forward. But when a bipartisan bill to begin its construction finally passed both the Senate and the House and came to President Obama’s desk two days ago, he vetoed it. Congress passed the Keystone Pipeline because it will obviously create good-paying jobs and increase our energy independence. That’s why the President’s veto doesn’t make sense—it was out of sheer political spite.

The Keystone XL pipeline is expected to carry 1,000,000 barrels of North American oil supplies per day to U.S. refineries. Its construction will create over 20,000 direct jobs and over 100,000 indirect jobs. There is no other single project that has the same positive jobs benefit, the same positive energy security benefit, and five clean environmental impact statements.

However, President Obama has been committed to undermining domestic energy production and major energy projects since the start. It’s unfortunate that he put his personal political agenda ahead of the good of the country.

Keystone has broad-based support and President Obama needs to stop getting in the way of our economic recovery. It’s long past time that we start building the Keystone XL pipeline. I’ve worked with colleagues in the Senate for years to push this forward, and I’ll continue to fight until it’s complete.

DHS funding set to expire

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expires at the end of this month. But guess what? Last week, the Senate took a recess. Instead of addressing this issue, the Senate went home for a break.

We should have voted on this funding bill weeks ago. DHS is a vital part of our government, especially given increasing terror threats from abroad. But this funding bill also gives us the opportunity to debate President Obama’s illegal, unconstitutional executive amnesty for illegal immigrants head-on – and hopefully overturn it.

At the end of last year, President Obama announced a plan to grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants. This action has no basis whatsoever in law.

The House of Representatives already passed a bill to fund DHS. And it has some important provisions that would defund any illegal, unconstitutional executive amnesty.

It’s time for the Senate to do our job. It’s our responsibility to vote on the country’s business and finally act. There’s more work to do.

Protecting Louisianians from Terrorist Threats

One of our government’s most important responsibilities is to protect our citizens from national security threats. This week President Obama submitted a request to Congress to use military force in the Middle East, and it’s an appropriate time to review what’s going on in the world.

With the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, it’s important that we have a clear, comprehensive national security strategy to address these kinds of threats. And according to our Constitution, the President must submit a formal request to Congress in order to authorize the use of military force, known as an AUMF.

The U.S. has already launched airstrikes in Syria to combat ISIS, but an AUMF is constitutionally necessary whenever our troops enter a new country. It’s also the right thing to do to properly engage Congress and the American people.

President Obama’s passive leadership has invigorated terror threats around the world. For example, just this week, the White House completely downplayed the recent terrorist attack in Paris, calling it a ‘random’ shooting.

An AUMF alone is insufficient. It’s important – but what’s more important is a clear, cohesive strategy from the President. I’ll keep working to hold his feet to the fire until we get one.

Fighting for Veterans Benefits and Care

When our American citizens serve in our military, we make a promise to support them when they complete their service and return home. Unfortunately, there are a number of instances where the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has failed on that promise.

Over the last year, we’ve heard appalling reports of mismanagement at the Veterans Administration and VA hospitals across the country. Many of the issues that were brought to light on a national level continue to persist in Louisiana. That’s not good enough.

Congressman Charles Boustany and I are working together to urge the VA Secretary Robert McDonald to come down to Louisiana and witness first hand where they are missing the mark.

In our letter to him, we raised questions about the Department’s procedures regarding emergency medical care for veterans and the construction deadlines for veterans’ health clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles. Our veterans should have the opportunity to directly express their concerns to the VA’s highest authority and hear his plans to improve VA operations in Louisiana.

It’s been folks like you sharing stories that will continue leading to reforms at the VA. If you’ve had any issues, please click here to share your story.

I’m also looking forward to working together with you to make sure that Louisiana veterans are granted the proper medical care they deserve, and to get the VA clinics in Lafayette and Lakes Charles built and operational as soon as possible.

From our nation’s “Greatest Generation,” to those currently serving, my wife Wendy and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Another Anti-Gun Attorney General?

As your U.S. Senator, one of my top priorities is protecting our Second Amendment rights. In recent years, these rights have been under attack from President Obama and the Department of Justice.

President Obama oversaw the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in the heinous murder of border patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010. He is also responsible for Operation Choke Point, which is targeting legal gun businesses by intimidating the banks they use.

I welcomed Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation last fall, but now President Obama is nominating another anti-gun advocate to the position. As the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch has established a clear anti-gun record. I want to know whether she believes law enforcement resources should be used to attack the Second Amendment and target legal gun industries.

I met with Ms. Lynch last month, and I didn’t get any clear answers from her. It’s clear we can’t trust her to defend our Second Amendment rights, so I’ll be voting against her nomination to be Attorney General.