Approving the Keystone XL pipeline is a "no-brainer," because it would add jobs and have a better effect on the environment than transporting oil on highways and trains, Sen. Rob Portman told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The bill to approve the Keystone pipeline fell one vote short of passing in the Senate on Tuesday, thereby shelving the legislation until the new Congress convenes next year, when Republicans have vowed to bring the issue up for another vote.
"I wish we had passed Keystone last night. I do think it's a no-brainer. I really do. It adds jobs," the Ohio Republican said Wednesday. "It is better for the environment than trucks and trains."
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Portman predicted that a bipartisan bill he co-sponsored with New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on energy efficiency could be brought back before the Senate next year.
The bill failed in May
when it included a binding vote on Keystone XL.
Portman said lawmakers had previously talked about "combining the two" bills, adding it "makes a lot of sense."
"The energy efficiency bill is one that's very popular among folks who are concerned about emissions, in addition to those concerned about jobs. So, it's a good way to, sort of, bridge the gap," he said.
Portman said it "doesn't make any sense" to have a government shutdown if President Barack Obama acted independently through executive order on changes to the immigration system. He said he thought it would be "crazy" for Obama to do it, particularly after the heavy Democratic losses in the midterm elections.
Such an action on the president's part would likely be illegal, Portman claimed, predicting "they'll be lawsuits filed" if he moved forward with an executive order. He said the voters made clear in the midterm elections that they wanted the president to work with Congress.
"It would be much smarter for [Obama] to say, 'The American people have spoken. Let's try to work together,'" he said. "If anything, this election said Washington is broken. It's dysfunctional. Why can't you guys work together?"
Portman said he didn't vote for the immigration bill that passed in the Senate because it "doesn't have adequate enforcement."
"You've got to have better enforcement. But, you can. There's a way to get there," he said. "We have to have better enforcement. We have to deal with the people who are here. We all know that. Let's try to work together, rather than making it almost impossible."
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