Providing for Consideration of S.1, Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, and Providing for Proceedings During the Period from February 16, 2015, Through February 23, 2015

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 11, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Oil and Gas


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the
customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings),
pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During
consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose
of debate only.

Mr. Speaker, we are here today to talk about House Resolution 100,
which provides a closed rule for consideration of S. 1, the Keystone XL
Pipeline Approval Act. Folks might find that a little unusual to talk
about a bill that begins with the title S. 1, but there is a new day in
Washington, D.C., that excites me, and it is that the ``open for
business'' sign is there on the Senate side. It is not a function of
Republicans doing this or Democrats doing that. It is a function of the
process working the way that it should.

The first vote I took on the Keystone pipeline, Mr. Speaker, was back
in 2011 when I was first elected to Congress. It passed the House by a
wide bipartisan margin. It was never given the time of day in the
United States Senate.

As we come here today, we are not just talking about approval of the
Keystone XL pipeline in S. 1. We are talking about the inclusion of
another bill that has passed time and time again, the Better Buildings
Act. Mr. McKinley from West Virginia has language that would promote
energy conservation across this land, a bill that has passed time and
time again in this House but has never been passed by the Senate.

It is an opportunity here today, Mr. Speaker. It is an opportunity to
do those things that the American people sent us here to do: bipartisan
votes, commonsense legislation for the first time in a long time, Mr.
Speaker, and what I hope will be the beginning of a long trend here in
the U.S. House of Representatives.

As you listened to the Clerk read, Mr. Speaker, you heard that there
are a lot of different points in this bill. It is not just a bill for
consideration of S. 1. It is also a bill so that when the House is not
in session in D.C. next week, the Speaker will have the ability to call
the House back into session to continue to conduct business because the
business must continue to go on. I am glad the Rules Committee was able
to include that provision as well.

Seven years ago is when the permit process started on the Keystone XL
pipeline, Mr. Speaker. Since seven years ago, longer than it took to
build the Hoover Dam, we have been trying to approve a small section of
pipeline. I say ``trying to approve'' somewhat loosely. I think if we
had been committed to getting it done, we could have absolutely gotten
it done. Again, it is a commonsense piece of legislation that decides
rather than building a pipeline across Canada to carry oil to Canadian
refineries, which will provide lots of jobs for Canadians, if our
partner to the north is willing, we will build that pipeline through
America to deliver that oil to American refineries to create Americans

This is not a bill that mandates that, Mr. Speaker. The marketplace
is going to control this construction decision. The marketplace is
going to control where the oil is refined, and the marketplace is going
to control whether or not the oil comes out of the ground to begin

Too often, I think we have been treating the Keystone XL pipeline
approval process as if it were an environmental decision. There are
those who wish the United States would reduce its reliance on fossil
fuels. I am one of those. I don't think there is any advantage to be
had by putting all your eggs in one energy basket. I am in favor of an
all-of-the-above strategy that makes sure that America's energy
security--North America's energy security--is based on multiple--
multiple--avenues for energy production. But we do not get to decide in
this Chamber whether or not the Canadians bring oil out of the ground.
We only get to decide whether or not, once that oil comes out of the
ground, it is moved with U.S. jobs and U.S. construction to U.S.
refineries, or whether or not those jobs go elsewhere.

Mr. Speaker, time and time again folks come to the floor and they
say: Where are the jobs? Where is the jobs legislation? I am thrilled
to be carrying this rule for the Rules Committee today, Mr. Speaker,
because this is one of those jobs bills--bipartisan, common sense. And
if we pass it here in the House today, Mr. Speaker, headed to the
President's desk, that signature will change the lives of those
hardworking Americans looking for jobs today.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume
to thank my friend for his well wishes and to tell him I am sympathetic
to the hamster wheel scenario that he describes.

I don't particularly enjoy these opening weeks of a new Congress, Mr.
Speaker, because committees haven't gotten organized, legislation
hasn't started to flow, and it puts the committee in the very
unfortunate situation of having to act as the legislator, as the
authorizer, to begin moving pieces of legislation to the floor.

That is unfortunate. But that is not the situation we are talking
about today, Mr. Speaker. What we are talking about today is a bill
that not only passed the floor of the House but went to the Senate, a
bill that not just went to the Senate but went through that wonderful
open debate process that my friend from Florida described and has now
come back to us today.

Four years we have been trying to move this bill forward, Mr.
Speaker. It is a closed rule here today so that we can act on the same
legislation that the Senate has passed, so we can send this bill to the
President's desk, so we can get off the hamster wheel of futility that
my friend from Florida describes.

I am optimistic, Mr. Speaker. But it doesn't happen by itself. It
happens with years and years of work.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from
North Dakota (Mr. Cramer), whose advocacy and leadership have made
having this bill on the floor today possible.


Mr. WOODALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may

I was just reading an article from the AP, which is doing a fact
check on whether or not a conversation about the Department of Homeland Security is a fair and honest conversation.

They say, in reality, most people will see little change if the
Department's flow is halted, and some of the warnings of doom are as
exaggerated as they are striking. They go on to list word after word of
folks announcing those warnings.

What is striking to me, Madam Speaker, is that, if we had the same
open process going on in the Senate right now that the gentleman from
Florida described--the great process that brought S. 1 to the floor--we
would be bringing the Department of Homeland Security bill to the floor
of the Senate as well; but, as you know, the Senate minority leader
today is filibustering any effort to even bring this conversation to
the floor, going back to the hamster wheel my friend from Florida
described earlier.

How often do we hear that? How often do we hear about the procedural
stunts that get in the way of doing the business that every single one
of us knows our constituents sent us here to do?

This bill, though, is one about which we can be proud. This bill,
though, is one that gets to the heart of what our constituents have
asked us to do. This bill, though, has been done right from the start
in a bipartisan way, in an open way, and it can make a difference for
people tomorrow if we pass it on the floor of the House today and send
it on to the President.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WOODALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume
to say to the gentleman from Texas, my heart sits where his hearts
sits--with American workers and American products. We build the best
products in the world. There is absolutely no reason not to purchase
the best products in the world to build something particularly as
important as our pipeline.

The box we find ourselves in is that, candidly, some of us--in fact,
I dare say all of us--are a little surprised the Senate was even able
to move through this bill. I have not seen the Senate move like it has
moved in this open process, in this expedient process. In the entire 4
years I have served in this institution, I have never seen it happen

It is a good bill. I don't take issue with the work the Senate did.
It looks substantially similar to what we passed here in the House. We
may never get a chance to send this bill to the desk.

Again, we are just trying to debate a small part of the
appropriations process and the Senate right now can't even move into
debate because of filibusters in the Senate.

So I say to my friend from Texas, I am absolutely sympathetic to his
amendment. I would like to have an opportunity to debate more
amendments on the floor of this House.

I think back to my early days here 4 years ago. We had a 3\1/2\-day
what I call festival of democracy. We came down here and worked night
and day on H.R. 1 until every Member had a chance to be heard. That is
the way it ought to be done. And I regret that in this situation we did
not have a chance to make the gentleman's amendment in order because it
was a good amendment and it would absolutely be worthy of debate and
consideration here on the floor of the House.

Madam Speaker, with that, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WOODALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I may be an unnatural optimist, but I believe these 2 years that we
are about to have in this institution are going to be the finest that I
have seen in my lifetime. The reason I believe that is exactly because
we are responding to the plea that my friend from Florida has made to
get on about the business of the people.

It is hard being in the minority around here. It is hard. My friends
on the other side of the aisle may feel like they are in the minority
today. For the last 4 years, we had the Speakership in this Chamber,
but I sure felt like I was in the minority.

The Senate, held by the party on the other side; the White House, the
party on the other side--and things got to be about party, day in and
day out, and it wore on me, wore on me.

That is not why I ran for Congress, Madam Speaker. It is not why you
ran for Congress. It is not why any of my colleagues here ran for
Congress. They ran for Congress to get about the business of the

We are 1 month and a week into this new session of Congress, and the
Senate has already managed to do what it hasn't been able to do for 4
years, and that is hold an open debate and move legislation where
Members had a chance to have their voice heard.

We have that measure in front of us today. The only thing standing
between us and considering that measure, Madam Speaker, is passing this
rule. I am excited about it. I am excited about it.

I am proud of what is in this underlying legislation. I am proud of
the process that produced this legislation. I am proud of the
leadership of folks like Mr. Cramer who moved it through the House

Now, this is the Senate version, but this is the process that folks
have worked in tandem. This is a process that folks back home can be
proud of.

Now, that is not to say every Member of this Chamber supports this
legislation, Madam Speaker. They don't, and they have myriad reasons
for choosing not to support this legislation, but the majority is going
to work its will.

I don't mean the majority, the Republican majority. I mean the
majority--let's have a show of hands, see where people stand--and
Republicans and Democrats are going to stand together and say, I
support these American jobs. They are going to say, I support our
largest trading partner, which is Canada. They are going to say, I
support finality on a process that began 7 years ago.

I long for the debate we will have on this House floor, and I hope
the gentleman from Florida and I get to manage the rule when we bring
the surface transportation bill to the floor of this House because
America needs that surface transportation bill. We need to build
America, Madam Speaker.

What does it say when getting approval for this pipeline consumed
more time than the entire construction of the Hoover Dam? Have we so
hamstrung ourselves with bureaucracy that we can no longer do those
great building projects as a Nation?

I hope that the answer is no, but if the answer is yes, we have the
ability in this Chamber to change it to no. We are a society that does
great, great things. We do have responsibilities that are great, great
responsibilities, and we cannot accomplish those in a partisan way. We
cannot accomplish those without partnership and cooperation.

For the next 2 years, Madam Speaker, we have an opportunity to move
bills out of a Republican-led Congress that get signed by a Democratic-
led White House. That is kind of the way the Founding Fathers
envisioned it, and I am pleased to be a small part of it today.