Republicans Accuse Joe Biden of Putting Jobs at Risk with Climate Change Agenda

Republicans have railed against President Joe Biden for putting American jobs at risk by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and revoking the federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in his first two days as commander-in-chief.

The newly-inaugurated president almost immediately signed the U.S. up to the Paris climate deal on Wednesday, and also axed the Keystone XL pipeline's federal construction permit, despite pleas from the Canadian government.

The Keystone XL pipeline was supposed to stretch roughly 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, where it would link up with an existing pipeline network to deliver crude oil to refineries. TC Energy, the owner of the Keystone pipeline, said Biden's move would lead to thousands of union workers being laid off. The firm plans to axe more than 1,000 construction jobs in the wake of the permit being revoked.

Bloomberg also reported that the president is preparing to suspend the sale of oil and gas leases on federal land—a move that could deliver another blow to energy sector work.

Joe Biden Executive Order
President Joe Biden signs an executive order during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Reacting to the raft of climate measures, Republicans were quick to accuse Biden of caring more about foreign nationals in Paris and Saudi Arabia than American citizens. "I guess Joe Biden cares more about workers in Saudi Arabia than in the United States," Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) tweeted. "In less than 36 hours, our new president has declared war on the American energy industry."

The Montana Republican also filed a resolution arguing that the president needed Senate approval before he could sign the U.S. up to the Paris Climate Agreement. The proposal was backed by five other GOP lawmakers.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also raised a complaint about the move to rejoin the Paris climate deal, accusing Biden of being "more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh."

"The failed Paris deal will hurt American families while China and Russia grow emissions," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted. "The Keystone cancellation will kill union jobs and hurt U.S. energy security."

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also hit out at the president for his decision to axe the Keystone XL pipeline, highlighting the thousands of jobs that had been put on the chopping block.

Posting on social media, Blackburn said: "While signing an executive order to end the Keystone XL pipeline is the simple stroke of a pen for Joe Biden, it results in the loss of thousands of good-paying American jobs and puts the possibility of energy security and economic competitiveness at risk."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed at a press briefing on Thursday on Biden's decision to axe the permit for the pipeline. Asked what Biden would say to the thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs, the spokesperson said he was committed to "clean energy jobs" with high pay.

During the president election campaign, the president promised to make $2 trillion of "accelerated" investments in the clean energy sector, with aid specifically targeted at infrastructure projects, the power sector, and the auto industry. He promised to create "millions" of jobs with the federal investments.