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Democrats Cave To Pressure From GOP On Keystone Pipeline; Greens Furious | Missouri Political News Service

Democrats Cave To Pressure From GOP On Keystone Pipeline; Greens Furious

December 19th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

Late Friday night, Democrats gave in to demands from Republicans that any payroll tax cut extension must include a provision expediting a decision from President Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline.

As Politico recounts, “[D]uring a marathon day of closed-door negotiations on Friday, Senate Republicans won a major concession: The compromise package includes a provision prodding Obama to make a decision on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which has pitted two traditional Democratic backers – organized labor and environmental groups – against one another. Obama had tried to push a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 elections, but Republicans, sensing an opening, demanded the president act sooner.”

Recall that at the beginning of the month, Senate Democrats were demanding tax increases on job creators accompanying a payroll tax cut and President Obama actually threatened to veto a bill including the Keystone XL language as recently as last week. Yet the bill the Senate passed this morning both includes the pipeline provision and contains not one dime in tax increases.

Writing at Townhall.com, Guy Benson calls the inclusion of the Keystone XL provisions “A TKO decision for Republicans.” From the Left, the liberal news site TPM acknowledges, “In a political hit for Democrats, Republicans insisted on and secured a provision that requires the Obama administration to either greenlight the Keystone XL oil pipeline or for President Obama to publicly nix it by declaring it not in the national interest.”

The Washington Post reported, “Senate Democrats emerging from a closed-door meeting Friday night were of two minds about the payroll tax cut plan negotiated by party leaders – at once acknowledging that the deal handed Republicans a victory on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline but at the same time arguing that the short-term package would put Democrats on offense come the new year. Asked whether the deal amounted to a win for Republicans, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) responded, ‘Oh, absolutely.’

Hugh Hewitt wrote, “Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have succeeded in making the president’s job-killing environmental extremism the central issue at the close of 2011 and it will reappear early in 2012, not long after the GOP primaries begin and perhaps even identify the likely nominee to stand against Obama.  The two-month deal struck by the Senate yesterday obliges the president to approve or kill the crucial Keystone XL pipeline, and to do so in early 2012 after another two months of having it play the role of stand-in for the president’s entire economic theory which is the crony capitalism of government-manipulated decision-making for preferred constituents.”

At Ace of Spades, Gabriel Malor points out, “Press Secretary Jay Carney was reluctant to repeat Obama’s veto threat over Keystone XL, so the President is in the hot seat now. Democrats and unions . . . were freaking out over being put in a position to oppose the thousands of jobs represented by Keystone XL.” He adds, “Can I get a big ‘good job’ for Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell? The Hill reported earlier today that McConnell was making a big push on this. It paid off.”

Hot Air’s Tina Korbe sees that the environmental groups who were pressuring Obama to kill the pipeline are not happy. She links a Politico story reporting, “Senate Democrats accepted a provision Friday forcing a decision in two months on the Keystone XL oil pipeline as part of the must-pass payroll tax cut package, leaving the White House on the brink of a meltdown with environmental groups. ‘It’s bulls—-,’ said Sierra Club President Michael Brune. ‘This is no way to run a government. We’ve got Republicans in Congress who are willing to hold the entire government hostage simply to give a Christmas present to industry.’ . . . For greens, the fact that the Keystone pipeline was back on the table five weeks after Obama had seemingly punted it until 2013 is causing considerable heartburn with an administration that hasn’t been as green as they once wished.”


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