White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Fox News reporter Peter Doocy went back and forth during Monday’s White House press briefing over President Joe Biden’s promise to provide “green jobs” to workers formerly employed in the fossil fuels industry.
When called on by Psaki, Doocy began by asking about the thousands of workers in the fossil fuels industry who are out of a job, or may soon be out of a job, due to the Biden administration’s policies concerning the industry. (RELATED: ‘I’m A Farmer’: Democratic Senator Breaks With Biden Administration By Supporting Keystone XL Pipeline)
“When is it that the Biden administration is going to let the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers, whether it’s pipeline workers or construction workers, who are either out of work or will soon be out of work because of the Biden EO, when it is and where it is they can go for their green job?” Doocy asked. “That is something the administration has promised. There is now a gap, so I’m just curious when that happens, when those people can count on that?”
“I certainly welcome you to present your data of all the thousands and thousands of people who won’t be getting a green job. Maybe next time you’re here you can present that,” Psaki responded.
On Biden’s first day in office he signed an executive order revoking the Presidential permit granted for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was expected to run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This action is expected to cost roughly 11,000 American jobs. TC Energy, the company behind the construction of the pipeline, said on Jan. 2o that there could be an immediate loss of 1,000 construction jobs.
Doocy then noted to Psaki that she previously said those workers would be getting “green jobs” and mentioned that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a friend of Biden’s, said he wished Biden had paired the loss of jobs in the fossil fuels industry and the job creation in the green energy industry more carefully. “The Labor International Union of North America said that the Keystone decision will cost 1,000 existing union jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs,” Doocy added.
“What Mr. Trumka also indicated in the same interview was that President Biden has proposed a climate plan with transformative investments and infrastructure, and laid out a plan that will not only create millions of good union jobs, but also help tackle the climate crisis,” Psaki retorted. “And, as the president has indicated when he gave his prime time address to talk about the American Rescue Plan, he talked about his plans to also put forward a jobs plan in the weeks or months following. He has every plan to do exactly that.”
Trumka did praise Biden and his plans in his Axios interview, but Psaki did not follow up on Trumka’s criticism of the timing of Biden’s policy rollout. Biden also did not mention any future jobs plan announcement in his address to the nation on Feb. 5, as Psaki claimed.
“But there are people living paycheck to paycheck. There are now people out of jobs once the Keystone pipeline stops construction … So what do these people who need money now, when do they get their green jobs?” Doocy continued.
“The president and many Democrats and Republicans in Congress believe that investment in infrastructure, building infrastructure, that’s in our national interests, boosts the U.S. economy, creates good-paying union jobs here in America, and advances our climate and clean energy goals, are something that we can certainly work on doing together, and he has every plan to share more about his details of that plan in the weeks ahead,” Psaki responded.