Obama vows to work with GOP, ‘happy to engage’ on energy

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2014

President Obama today said there was room for agreement with Republican leaders on several issues after the GOP’s landslide victory last night, but he warned that he wouldn’t wait to act on parts of his agenda during his last two years in office.

Speaking at the White House, Obama outlined possible areas of compromise, including tax reform, efforts to make college more affordable and a longtime Democratic goal to raise the minimum wage.

Obama also outlined three priorities for the lame-duck session before the GOP takes control of the Senate next year.

The president said in coming weeks he will ask for additional funding to address the Ebola virus, seek a resolution to use force against Islamic militants and press Congress to pass a budget to carry the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year.

“The American people sent a message,” Obama said. “… They want us to get the job done. All of us, in both parties, have a responsibility to address that sentiment.”

Obama did not include specific energy and environmental policies in a list of possible areas where he might reach an agreement with the House and Senate.

But Obama touched briefly on the Keystone XL pipeline, saying he would let the review of the project “play out” before making a final decision.

“There’s an independent process. It’s moving forward, and I’m going to let that process play out,” he said.

Obama said the controversial project was one piece of a larger debate over the boom in domestic natural gas and oil production.

“Our energy sector is booming, and I’m happy to engage Republicans with additional ideas,” Obama said. “Keystone I just consider as one small aspect of a broader trend that’s really positive for the American people.”