Franken renews push for American-made steel for Keystone

Franken’s amendment would require that iron, steel or manufactured goods used to construct the Keystone XL pipeline be manufactured in the United States.

WASHINGTON — Here’s some déjà vu for Minnesota voters: Sen. Al Franken has injected American-made steel back into the Keystone XL pipeline debate.

Franken has formally introduced an amendment requiring the pipeline, if approved by Congress, be built with American-made steel. The amendment, which Franken offered to a GOP bill that would authorize construction of the pipeline despite an ongoing State Department review, could come to the floor for a vote next week, lawmakers announced Tuesday.

The American-made steel debate will be familiar to those who paid attention to Franken’s re-election campaign last year. Franken has said he opposes bypassing the regulatory process for Keystone, but, either way, it should be constructed with American steel. During the campaign his Republican opponent, businessman Mike McFadden, said he didn’t think that should be a precondition to constructing Keystone, a comment the DFL used against him throughout the campaign, especially on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Franken’s amendment is short, requiring that: “to the maximum extent consistent with the obligations of the United States under international trade agreements, none of the iron, steel or manufactured goods used in construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and facilities approved by this act may be produced outside of the United States.” The big caveat: the amendment wouldn’t apply if using American-made products would increase the price of the project by more than 25 percent.

“I have long believed that Congress should not short circuit the regular permitting process for the Keystone pipeline as there are still agencies reviewing the project that have yet to complete their analyses,” Franken said in a statement. “I also think that if the pipeline is built, it should be built with American steel from our American producers.”

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the amendment and the final bill early next week. Republicans overcame a Democratic filibuster on Monday, and the House passed a bill approving Keystone, a 1,179-mile pipeline carrying oil from Canada to existing pipelines in Nebraska, last week. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill should it reach his desk.

Devin Henry can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 01/14/2015 - 08:42 am.


    a broken clock is right twice daily.

  2. Submitted by John Clouse on 01/14/2015 - 11:09 am.

    U S Steel

    This seems to be a no-brainer.
    That it would be opposed is another sign of the disfunction of congress.
    GOP: “We want to build jobs.”
    GOP: “We don’t want to do anything to lessen the profits of the companies which support us with financial contributions.”
    GOP: “We want to build XL.”
    GOP: “We don’t care what is done with the oil it carries.”

    Good for Franken.

  3. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/14/2015 - 07:57 pm.


    There’s a new Senate in town where minority party members may propose amendments and have them voted upon. Although strongly against the pipeline, our Senator can play both sides by trying to add this amendment. If the amendment passes it will be interesting to see if Senator Franken will vote for the project despite not enough Federal government study. My guess is that Senator Amy is a “No” vote no matter what.

  4. Submitted by Tom Knisely on 01/14/2015 - 10:43 pm.

    Typical Franken

    This is so silly and so typical of Franken. He’s demanding US steel be used in a pipeline he’s doing everything to block. He’s trying to obscure the fact that his opposition is standing in the way of high paying union jobs being created. Does he really think we’re that stupid? Well, some of us must be because we’re in for six more years of these types of games. SMH

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 01/15/2015 - 10:17 am.

      It’s not that hard:

      1. The project shouldn’t go forward. It may create a few jobs but the benefits of that are greatly outweighed by the harms it will cause.
      2. If it nevertheless does go forward, it should be subject to conditions that will lessen the net negative impacts.

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