Press Releases

Hatch, Lee Introduce Legislation to Resolve Land Ownership for Homeowners Near Scofield Reservoir

Feb 1, 2012

This solution will ensure the affected residents of Carbon County are protected and their homes are not in jeopardy

On CNN, Senator Mike Lee discusses Obama's Unconstitutional Appointments

Feb 1, 2012

We don't have a government of one. We have a Senate that makes sure that presidential nominations of a certain level have to be confirmed, and [President Obama] didn't follow that process here, and I'm going to hold him accountable for that.

Bipartisan Group of Senators to Introduce Legislation to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline

Jan 30, 2012

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), David Vitter (R-La.) and a total of 44 senators today announced that they will introduce legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. The bipartisan group of senators committed to working together to advance this critical project for the United States. Hoeven, Lugar and the other senators have been working with colleagues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to ensure that this vital project is advanced.
The legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, which includes 100,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana. The bill allows the company to move forward with construction of the pipeline in the United States while the state of Nebraska works to determine an alternative route. Hoeven secured an opinion from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) confirming Congress’s constitutional authority to approve the project.
The Keystone XL pipeline project has been under review for more than three years, but President Obama rejected it last week saying the 60-day provision authored by Lugar, Hoeven and Vitter included in the payroll tax cut extension bill passed in December didn’t give him enough time to review the project. In fact, the Obama Administration spent 1,217 days reviewing the pipeline and there was no time limit on the State Department’s ability to review the Nebraska portion of the project.
“Our legislation not only acknowledges the vital national interest this project represents on many levels, but also works in a bipartisan way to begin construction,” Senator Hoeven said. “It will create thousands of jobs, help control fuel prices at the pump and reduce our reliance on Middle East oil and it can be accomplished with congressional authority, just as the Alaska Pipeline was nearly 40 years ago. The reality is that if America doesn’t build the Keystone project the Canadian oil will still be produced and shipped, but instead of being refined in the United States by American workers and benefiting American consumers, it will be shipped by tanker across the Pacific to China.”
“The job creation, economic and energy security arguments are overwhelmingly in favor of building the pipeline. A majority of Americans support it. President Obama’s opposition is not in the best interest of the United States. The President has failed to lead but we will not stop trying to complete this critical supply line,” Senator Lugar said.
“This new bill is a lot like the old one, but it makes it definitive that Congress has the authority to push the Keystone XL Pipeline forward,” said Senator Vitter. “Everyone in Washington talks about saving the economy and creating jobs – the Keystone XL project will actually do something about that. And it would be pure politics for the president not to support it.”
“The President said recently that he was for an ‘all of the above’ approach to energy, yet he rejected the one bipartisan energy project that is shovel-ready and can produce thousands of new jobs almost immediately – the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said. “While it’s clear that the President was appealing to his liberal environmental base when he blocked Keystone, this legislation would move us towards the creation of thousands of jobs and energy security for our nation.”
Legislative Summary
The Keystone XL pipeline has been subject to rigorous environmental analysis for more than three years, and was on schedule to be decided on by the U.S. State Department by the end of 2011. By contrast, the original Keystone pipeline took two years to review and became operational last year.
The Hoeven-Lugar-Vitter legislation builds off the completed Environmental Impact Statement, which was finished by the State Department on Aug. 26, 2011. Additionally, it requires the U.S. State Department to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) within 30 days with the State of Nebraska to assist in rerouting in that state, which will be subject to the Nebraska governor’s agreement on the route within the state. However, it allows Nebraska all the time it needs to identify a new route within the state to strengthen the completed Environmental Impact Statement.
Further, the legislation requires strong environmental and safety requirements by incorporating the environmental and safety standards required and finalized by the Secretary of State. At the same time, the bill protects state and local laws relating to the protection of private property rights by ensuring those laws are not changed in this process.
In addition to Senators Hoeven, Lugar, and Vitter, other original cosponsors of the bill are Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.); Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
What Senators Are Saying

Sen. Mike Lee:

“There is absolutely no rational justification for standing in the way of profitable enterprise that would create American jobs, American wealth, and greater American energy security. President Obama is kowtowing to the most extreme elements of the environmentalist movement by blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and he has the audacity to do so while calling Congress ‘obstructionist.’ It is time for America to reject the president’s failed economic policies and embrace proven methods of job creation, and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

Sen. Mike Johanns:

“This pipeline is not only a national priority because of the energy and jobs it will bring, it’s also a Nebraska priority. I believe we must move the project forward while still allowing Nebraska and TransCanada the time they need to find the right route through our state and this legislation does that.”
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison:

“We have spent billions in this country on ‘stimulus' packages that have not stimulated employment. With the Keystone Pipeline we have a private, non-taxpayer entity that will create thousands of jobs, bring approximately 700,000 barrels of oils sands to Texas refineries, and produce cheaper energy for families and small businesses in our country.”
Sen. Jerry Moran:

“Our country cannot afford to further delay long-term energy security, and unemployed Americans with the skills to construct this important project should not be forced to wait any longer. The Obama Administration has already spent three years reviewing the Keystone XL permit and conducting two comprehensive environmental evaluations of the project. Furthermore, the Canadian government has made it clear they will pursue other markets if this project cannot be completed. This legislation would put Americans to work now and provide an opportunity to grow local, state and national economies while taking a vital step toward energy security.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch:

“The White House’s decision to reject the Keystone pipeline project was another failure in leadership from one of the most anti-American-energy Administrations in our nation’s history. This common-sense legislation would overturn the White House’s inexplicable decision and allow this critical, job-creating project to move forward.”
Sen. Ron Johnson:

“President Obama says he wants to create jobs, invest in shovel ready infrastructure projects, and reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil. But then he kills the Keystone XL pipeline, and the 20,000 jobs and the billions of dollars in private sector infrastructure spending that died with it. The President’s decision shows where his true loyalties lie: with extreme environmentalists. He is showing once again his dedication to increasing the federal government’s control and intrusion into our lives. I'm pleased to join as an original cosponsor of this legislation, which would allow this important project to go forward.”
Sen. Mike Crapo:

“The Keystone XL Pipeline project will create immediate jobs, stimulate the economy and generate new revenue for cash-strapped state and local governments. Further delays simply to satisfy political allies unnecessarily sacrifices real job creation for narrow interests.”
Sen. Dan Coats:

“It is both irrational and disingenuous for an administration that claims its number one priority is jobs to block a project that would put thousands of Americans back to work. We need results from Washington, not more excuses. Keystone XL pipeline has bipartisan support because it will provide jobs for hardworking Americans and reduce our country’s dependence on Middle East oil.”
Sen. Rob Portman:

“I urge President Obama to support the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the largest private sector infrastructure projects in the nation. This project would create tens of thousands of jobs, and would likely benefit Ohio’s struggling manufacturing sector.”  

Sen. Saxby Chambliss:

“We simply cannot afford to delay approval of the Keystone pipeline permit any longer. Its construction will allow us to increase oil imports from Canada, a trusted ally and friend. By rejecting this permit, President Obama is putting his own re-election ahead of America’s economy and energy security. After years of review and environmental evaluation, it’s time to move forward on this project.  This legislation will ensure we do just that.”
Sen. John Cornyn:

“The Keystone XL pipeline will bring thousands of long-term jobs and energy security to the United States, and will be good for the economy, good for national security, and good for Texas.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander:

“If the president won’t act, Congress should. There’s no excuse not to move forward with a pipeline that will create 20,000 jobs and make us less reliant on oil from hostile countries.”         
Sen. Pat Toomey:

“We can’t wait for the president to drag his feet on this job-creating project any longer. Instead of focusing on American energy security and putting people back to work, the president has chosen to appease environmental special interests instead. It’s time for Congress to step up and do what the president hasn’t – authorize this pipeline and create tens of thousands of American jobs, increase our access to oil from our friends in Canada, and diminish our dependence on less secure sources of energy.”
Sen. Joe Manchin:

“As our country continues to need oil, common sense tells me I’d rather buy it from our friends in Canada, not countries around the world that seek to do us harm. I’d rather buy from our closest ally and create jobs in America than push Canada to build a pipeline out to the West Coast of North America that benefits countries like China. This pipeline is a job creator with support of both labor and business. It needs to be built not for the benefit of one political party or one state, but for the benefit of America.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson:

“Now, more than ever, our country needs leadership on energy security. Unfortunately, President Obama failed to provide leadership when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline last week. I am proud to join my Republican colleagues in the Senate in rejecting the president’s action by trying to move the Keystone XL pipeline forward. I will continue to do everything I can to support this critically important project, which will bring 700,000 barrels of crude to the U.S. from our strong ally Canada and at the same time, create thousands of American jobs.”
Sen. Dean Heller:

“Job creation should be a top priority for Congress and the Keystone XL pipeline would undoubtedly create jobs for Americans at a time when our nation needs them most.  Moreover, it would contribute to our nation’s energy security which is critical to economic growth.  It is time to put partisanship aside and start moving legislation that will help put Americans back to work.”
Sen. Bob Corker:

“The Keystone pipeline will create thousands of American jobs and provide our country with access to a large supply of North American energy.  There is no good reason to block this project when we really need the energy and the jobs the pipeline would generate.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions:

“Instead of pouring money into politically-favored companies like Solyndra, the President should have allowed the construction of the Keystone Pipeline which would have produced thousands of good-paying jobs.  This bill is a great way to create jobs without adding to the debt and will make our country stronger and more energy independent.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham:

“The Obama Administration’s decision to delay construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was irresponsible. Keystone XL will create thousands of jobs in the United States and also help reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela. The construction and operation of Keystone XL is an economic and energy must-do for the United States. I am pleased to support this effort and am hopeful it will pass the Congress in a strong, bipartisan vote.”
Sen. Jim Risch:

“The decision by President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline was flat wrong and puts politics before jobs and economic growth. That denial could very well allow the Chinese government to strike a deal and have the oil shipped to them instead of the U.S.  This legislation prevents that by clearing the way for this project to move forward.”

Lee Responds to the President’s Address

Jan 28, 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee responded to the President’s weekly address that singled out Senator Lee and criticized his vow to hold the President accountable for his unconstitutional recess appointments.

“The President’s recent recess appointments were unconstitutional. As a Senator, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, I am duty-bound to resist the president’s actions and seek to restore our nation's proper constitutional order.

“Ironically, the President invoked our Founding Fathers in his remarks claiming they did not envision such a defense of our constitutional rights. In fact, the Founding Fathers specifically instituted a system of checks and balances designed to protect American liberties against the unrestrained power of a tyrannical Executive. The Founders worried that one branch would attempt to assert its will over the others, so they supplied each branch with tools and incentives to resist such encroachments. That is what I am exercising here.

“Sadly, the President has sought to make this a partisan issue; but the Constitution is not partisan. The Constitution does not allow any president, Republican or Democrat, to circumvent the Senate in making appointments, and I will resist, just as vigorously, members of my own party who would attempt to do the same thing.

“I ask the President to stop campaigning briefly and reread the relevant portions of the Constitution.

“Article Two, Section Two says the president ‘shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…’ and that ‘The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.’

“Appointments may be made if one of two conditions are satisfied: either the Senate has given its advice and consent, or when the Senate is in recess.  The Senate did not consent to these appointments; nor was it in recess.  The President cannot make appointments unilaterally and he does not have the authority unilaterally to decide whether the Senate is in recess. These appointments were therefore unconstitutional.

“From ObamaCare to the takeover of the auto industry to his unconstitutional attempt to make recess appointments, the president has consistently shown almost no regard for the constitutional limitations placed on his office.

“That is why I must take a stand. And I call on all Americans – Republicans, Democrats, Independents – who care about our nation, to stand with me in opposition to this blatant and egregious encroachment on our basic constitutional liberties.”


Lee Introduces Budget Before Borrowing Act

Jan 27, 2012

Today, Senator Mike Lee introduced the Budget Before Borrowing Act, which would forbid the raising of the debt ceiling unless Congress has already passed a budget in the same fiscal year. The bill was introduced with 9 additional cosponsors.

Lee Threatens Resistance to Nominations Until President Rescinds Unconstitutional Appointments

Jan 26, 2012

Today, Senator Mike Lee formally responded to the President’s unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a statement delivered at a Judiciary Committee business meeting, Lee outlined the unconstitutional nature of the appointments and criticized the justification offered by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Sen. Lee Pays Tribute to Fallen Officer Francom on Senate Floor

Jan 24, 2012

Today, Senator Mike Lee spoke on the Senate floor about the tragic death of Utah policeman Jared Francom, who was shot in the line of duty on January 4th. A video of the speech is available here, and a transcript of Senator Lee’s remarks is below:
Mr. President, today I rise with a heavy heart to mourn the loss of Ogden police officer Jared Francom.
Earlier this month, on the evening of January 4th, 2012, Agent Francom was senselessly gunned down defending his fellow officers as they attempted to serve a search warrant in Ogden, Utah. Five other officers – Shawn Grogan, Kasey Burrell, Michael Rounkles, Nate Hutchinson, and Jason VanderWarf – were wounded in the gun battle.
A week later, a crowd of roughly 4000 family members, friends, and supporters, including more than a thousand uniformed officers, gathered at a public memorial for Jared to saygoodbye to one of America’s fallen heroes.
The sentiment from all that knew him was the same: Jared was a devoted family man, a dedicated father to his two young daughters, a fun loving brother and son to his family.
At the funeral, which I attended, I heard Jared’s brother Ben say he “taught people to care for each other and taught others to change the world like he was doing on the streets of Ogden.”
Commenting on the outpouring of support, Jared’s brother Travis said, “I know my brother would be proud, because we all are his family.”
Achieving a goal he’d set for himself as a young boy, Agent Francom became a member of the Ogden police force seven years ago and and was assigned to the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.
Jared’s sacrifice should be a reminder to us of the incredible risks our brave law enforcement officers all take to protect the people they serve.  I have a deep and unwavering respect for the law enforcement community and, as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, have seen up close how these men and women serve with honor, integrity, and dedication.
Jared Francom was no exception.  He will be remembered for giving his life in service to the people and community he loved.

Lee Highlights Democrats' 1000 Days of Failure

Jan 23, 2012

The inability of the President and Democratic leadership in the Senate to produce and pass a budget for the American people in nearly three years is a stunning failure. We have gone 1000 days without a blueprint for America's priorities, and it has lead to more irresponsible spending and record-setting annual deficits. Future generations will pay through higher taxes, greater inflation, and diminished prosperity.

Lee Reaffirms Opposition to PROTECT IP Act

Jan 18, 2012

Today, Senator Mike Lee reaffirmed his opposition to the PROTECT IP Act, flawed legislation that would unduly burdened certain online businesses, threaten Internet security, and stifle innovation.

Lee Adds Major General (Ret) Condon as Senior Policy Advisor

Jan 17, 2012

Senator Mike Lee announced the addition of Air Force Major General (Retired) Pat Condon as a senior advisor on military issues. General Condon served on active duty in the Air Force for 33 years, commanding at different times the Air Force Armament Laboratory at Eglin AFB, FL, the Arnold Engineering Development Center at Arnold Air Force Base, TN, and the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Utah’s own Hill AFB. He has also served in the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition in the Pentagon and as the Director of Plans and Programs in Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Condon holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.