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Jen Psaki spars with reporter who asked where promised 'green' jobs are for laid-off pipeline​ workers

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The Biden administration has said displaced fossil fuel workers will get 'better' gigs such as making solar panels

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki engaged in a testy exchange with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy on Monday, when the journalist pressed her on when fossil fuel industry workers laid off due to President Joe Biden's climate initiatives can expect the "green jobs" the administration has promised.

What are the details?

"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 Psaki. "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?"

"Well, I'd certainly welcome you to present your data of all the thousands and thousands of people who won't be getting job," the press secretary replied.

"Maybe next time you're here you can present that," she added, in a response that The New York Post interpreted as "mocking" Doocy.

The Daily Caller pointed out:

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. 20 that there could be an immediate loss of 1,000 construction jobs.

Doocy went on to ask Psaki about AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka's comments to Axios over the weekend, when the union chief criticized his longtime friend, Biden, for imposing the layoffs without accompanying options for the impacted workers.

"I wish he hadn't done that on the first day," Trumpka told Axios' Jonathan Swan of Biden. "It did and will cost us jobs...I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing he did second where he is talking about creating jobs."

Psaki noted to Doocy that "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."

She added, "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."

Doocy replied, "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?"

Psaki responded, "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."

Fox's Doocy challenges Psaki: When are Keystone workers getting their green jobs? www.youtube.com

Anything else?

The Biden administration has taken heat from critics on both sides of the political aisle for shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline project and leaving behind the affected workers.

John Kerry, Biden's climate envoy, made headlines last month when he suggested fossil fuel industry workers who find themselves out of a job due to the administration's environmental policies would have "better choices" such as making solar panels.

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