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Jay Carney calls Keystone bills ‘ineffectual, sham legislation’

• March 8, 2012 5:10 pm

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JAY CARNEY: Laura Meckler, I haven’t seen you in a while, how are you?

LAURA MECKLER: Well, this is the only briefing of the week. That’s why you haven’t seen me.

CARNEY: I did a little traveling. The president came out, took some questions.

MECKLER: My question is a follow-up on the Keystone question, which I didn’t feel like you answered further (unclear) original question, which was: Why did he feel the need to make these calls? He obviously doesn’t make calls on every piece of legislation that’s up there—

CARNEY: Well, maybe he does, but you just don’t hear about it. [laughter]

CARNEY: Look, the president obviously has communications with members of Congress, with some regularity. We have made our position clear about pure ideological and political efforts to attach legislation regarding the Keystone Pipeline to whatever some members of Congress fancy at the time. So it is not—it is false advertising to suggest that somehow passing legislation and having it made law that Keystone ought to be approved is somehow a. going to have any impact on the price of gas at the pump, which is very high and Americans are having to endure right now; or b. is responsible policy in any way when there isn’t even a proposed route for that pipeline to travel.

MECKLER: So does he believe that there’s some risk that the Senate Democrats do not understand these points?

CARNEY: I think that we have made these points very clear. We will continue to make these points very clear. And we certainly expect—at least we hope—that the Congress will act in an appropriate fashion, and not waste its time with ineffectual, sham legislation that has no effect on the price of gas, and is irresponsible because, as we’ve said before, tries to legislate the approval of a pipeline for which there is not even a route. So we’ll keep making that point in telephone calls, from the podium, maybe fly a Cessna overhead with a banner, something like that.

MECKLER: And how many senators did he call?

CARNEY: I don’t have specifics for you on the phone calls the president may have made.

MECKLER: May have made?

CARNEY: He did. Yeah, he made some calls. Sure. I’ll confirm that. Margaret?

REPORTER: I was going to ask you who he called.

CARNEY: I don’t have any names to give you.

REPORTER: Would you have any names later if we followed up with you?

CARNEY: No. Not necessarily. The fact that he made some calls happened to make it into a press report and I’m confirming that he did, but I won’t get into names or length of conversation.