Sen. Heitkamp Praises Trump's Executive Orders on Reviving Pipeline Projects

January 25, 2017

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) praised President Trump on Wednesday for his executive orders the prior day reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects.

Heitkamp spoke with CNBC co-host Joe Kernen and discussed her recent meeting with the president and his executive orders.

"I was extraordinarily grateful to have the opportunity to talk about priorities and issues with the president," Heitkamp said.

Kernen joked with Heitkamp that he would not want to receive all the mail that she has received from certain parts of the Democratic Party for meeting with Trump. Despite Trump being sworn in last week, many in the Democratic Party still believe he is an illegitimate president.

"I was incredibly honored to be asked. It gave me an opportunity to talk about things like the pipeline, like the export/import bank, which drives me crazy as you know, like what you can do to get Americans back to work," Heitkamp said. "It was exciting and it was interesting, and it gave me an insight into the administration and the administration's priorities."

Kernen asked Heitkamp how many jobs she thinks the pipeline projects would create and cited how an Obama administration official said two years ago the number was only 200. He also referenced Trump's statement from Tuesday, when he said the pipeline projects would create 28,000 jobs.

"I think the real number is the number of people who will be working to put the pipe in the ground," Heitkamp said. "What we expect is this isn't going to be one crew moving down the line. It's going to be a lot of crews, so I don't think that's an exaggeration to talk about over 20,000 jobs actually constructing the pipeline."

"I'm a little sensitive when people say this isn't a real job. These guys who work on the pipeline, those are real jobs and they mean a lot to their families," Heitkamp added.

The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects were halted during the Obama Administration due in part to environmental concerns. In addition to reviving the pipeline projects, Trump signed an executive order to expedite environmental reviews of infrastructure projects, which he lamented as "incredibly cumbersome."