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Bipartisan Support For Keystone XL; Politico: Some House Dems Open To Combining Pipeline & Payroll Tax Cut | Missouri Political News Service

Bipartisan Support For Keystone XL; Politico: Some House Dems Open To Combining Pipeline & Payroll Tax Cut

December 12th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

Although President Obama said during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper lasatweek, “any effort to try to tie Keystone [XL pipeline] to the payroll tax cut I will reject,” Politico reports today that “to some House Democrats, getting approval for the $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta oil sands to Texas refineries is a serious effort that should hitch a ride in a must-pass payroll tax cut extension.”

According to Politico, “Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas — one of 47 Democrats that supported a House bill this summer to require a decision on the pipeline project by Nov. 1 — counted more than 20 Democrats who would likely support adding the Keystone language to the payroll tax package. And he said he disagreed with Obama’s threat. ‘Look, I think that’d be a mistake on the president’s part,’ Ross said. ‘That’s the kind of economic activity we need. It’s a win-win. It reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates jobs here at home.’ Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) said he’s not swayed by Obama’s veiled veto pledge. ‘For the president, that’s a negotiating technique. And if you issue that veto threat, you better live through it. Because the next one then nobody will believe you if you don’t,’ Green said. ‘But that doesn’t give me any pause.’”

In fact, 22 House Democrats wrote to President Obama in October, urging approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. “America truly cannot afford to say ‘no’ to this privately funded, $20 billion, jobs-creating infrastructure project, which would bolster our economic, energy and national security.” They pointed out, “With job growth an ongoing struggle for our country, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline represents a true shovel-ready project that would directly create 20,000 high quality domestic manufacturing and construction jobs for Americans who are desperately seeking employment. The project would also create an additional 118,000 spin-off jobs.”

Interestingly even liberal Democrat Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver of Maryland “suggested Friday that he would be willing to trade approval of the Keystone pipeline for an extension in the payroll tax cut. ‘I do think that if I had one minute to vote, I probably would vote to accept the deal, but it’s not good government,’ Cleaver said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe,” Politico reports. And The Hill adds that Cleaver “on Friday said President Obama might cave on his threat to veto an extension of the payroll tax cut if it’s tied to a controversial pipeline project. ‘I think [Obama] is serious, but at the end, it may be here’s an opportunity to get a deal and get what I want and go home,’ said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). ‘Consider the fact that in previous debates like this, before the end of the summer, the president never said, ‘I will veto [the pipeline deal],’ so I don’t know the strategy in the White House right now, but I’ve got to say that the president is serious, but I think in politics everybody understands you have to get the best deal you can.’”

Labor unions have also been outspoken in support of moving forward on Keystone XL. The Laborers’ International Union of North America has said it is “not just a pipeline, but is a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women.” The AFL-CIO’s Mark Ayers wrote last month that “it is America’s workers who are clamoring for the expedited approval of this important project. As President Obama has rightfully declared when it comes to the creation of jobs, ‘WE CAN’T WAIT.’” And International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers president Edwin Hill said, “At a time when jobs are the top global priority, the Keystone project will put thousands back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the North American economy.”

So why is President Obama threatening a veto of a bill that has bipartisan support, would both extend the payroll tax cut he’s spent so much time campaigning for, and create jobs by moving ahead on the Keystone XL pipeline? In an interview at The Heritage Foundatiolast week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “This is a shovel-ready project. It could start tomorrow. All it needs is presidential approval. . . . And then the president decided, ‘Oh I’m not going to decide this until after the next election,’ presumably to curry favor with environmentalists who don’t like any form of energy production. But we need jobs. This is a project ready to go. All it needs is the permission of the President of the United States. So legislatively we’re going to demand that the president make a decision within 60 days and we’re going to try to pass it.”


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Tags: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

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