Democrats criticizing president over pipeline decision

Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire reacts


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 20, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: After President Obama puts the pipeline on the firing line, Canada is ready to toe the line with China.

Canada’s prime minister not backing down from a pledge to sell oil to China. Now the president is finding himself in a bit of a sticky situation within his party.

Congressman Jason Altmire is what they call one of those Blue Dog Democrats from the fine state of Pennsylvania.

Congressman, what do you think of this? And where does it put your party on this issue?

REP. JASON ALTMIRE, D-PA.: Well, I don’t where it puts the party.

There is a lot of labor support. The building trades union strongly the XL pipeline. There’s a lot of Democrats in Congress that would like to get that done. I’m very disappointed in the decision that has been made. And I think it is a very bad decision for the country.

We’re talking about a $7 billion private investment in America, tens of thousands of jobs. And this pipeline is going to get built either way. That is the thing. The Canadians are either going to build it to the south, to our Gulf Coast, creating American jobs, or they are going to go west to the Canadian coast, which is going to lead to further west exporting that oil off to Canada -- or to China, and we see no benefit from that.

So, I would rather have the $7 billion investment and the tens of thousands of jobs that it would create.

CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that this was about, as some of the critics have said, to environmentalists, and that after reelection, should he get reelected, it just all goes away and the pipeline is back on, and all of this is Kabuki Theater?

ALTMIRE: I don’t know what the motivation was.

I hope we still find a way to get this done in America using our own workers and our own resources. But, again, I’m disappointed with the decision. I regret that it has come to this.

(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: But most in your party, Congressman, are not.

Now, I know you have been pretty gutsy in the past on budgeting issues and spending issues to part company with others in your party. And I commend you for that. But the reality is that most in your party were for this.

So, where do you think it goes just within your party?

ALTMIRE: Well, I would suspect, if a majority of the party is happy with the decision, then you will probably see a lot of press releases that say they are happy with the decision.

I’m not one who is in that camp. And I do know that there is a split among organized labor, the building trades union and the environmentalist community. And the president sided with the environmental concerns in this case. But, as you said, hopefully we can get him to revisit it and still have a chance to get this done in America.

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, thank you very, very much.

ALTMIRE: Thank you, Neil.

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