The President has been crystal clear that infrastructure is more than a pipeline from Canada. He also believes that he has already been given the right to determine which pipelines get approved without interference from Congress.
And, in Washington, you don’t really give up your chips unless you get what you want. President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union that he wanted broad infrastructure built. It includes roads, bridges, a comprehensive energy portfolio – and the Keystone Pipeline could probably be a part of that.
President Obama said in his 2015 SOTU: “Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come. Let’s do it. Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done.“
The notion that President Obama is going to allow Keystone to pass before the rest of his agenda — and give up Presidential power in the process — is ludicrous.
Anyone of us would want a full discussion and debate on an agenda before passing one element of a comprehensive portfolio.
It is why I believe Mitch McConnell would have vetoed Keystone if he were President — no matter what he says.
So what does this have to do with you as a person working in an organization?
The answer is a lot. No matter where you are on the corporate ladder, deals are struck and compromises are made. This is especially true at the top of the largest organizations.
CEOs do not have carte blanche. They must get buy–in. They compromise with activist shareholders, unions, large customers, Government regulators, and many others. CEOs must compromise. Boards compromise. And, you probably have give and take with your peers and your boss to get the job done.
So, the Keystone pipeline is just another example of very little compromise in Washington. It was a vote brought to the President just to satiate the base without regard for proving to the American people that Congress can govern. We saw this with Newt Gingrich in 1994 and it led both sides to compromise and a balanced budget. This is a bill that a would-be “President” Mitch McConnell too would veto because there was no discussion — no compromise.
So, are both sides to blame? Yes. Can they learn to get the people’s business done? I hope so.