Boehner: Republicans may link pipeline to tax bill

WASHINGTON Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:44pm EST

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during the GOP news conference about the Keystone XL pipeline decision on Capitol Hill in Washington January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during the GOP news conference about the Keystone XL pipeline decision on Capitol Hill in Washington January 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that Republicans may use an upcoming payroll tax cut bill to force President Barack Obama to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

"The Keystone pipeline is a prime example of a shovel-ready project that's been through every approval process here in Washington. Every option is on the table," Boehner said on Fox News Sunday.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure this Keystone pipeline project is approved," he said.

Asked specifically about linking the project's approval to the payroll tax cut, Boehner replied: "We may. We may."

TransCanada Corp.'s $7 billion proposed pipeline to pump crude oil 1,661 miles from Canada to Texas has become a top priority for Republicans in Congress, who are promoting the project as a vital source of jobs during economic hard times.

Renewed efforts to force a decision on Keystone, which is strongly opposed by environmentalists, could result in another showdown with the White House if the pipeline is inserted in the payroll tax bill once again.

Obama rebuffed Republicans last week when his administration turned down TransCanada's application. The White Houses said a 60-day fast-track approval schedule, imposed by Congress, was too short to give adequate attention to potential environmental impacts.

The administration left open the door, however, saying it would consider new requests to build the pipeline.

Republican leaders have been signaling they want to get the tax issue off the agenda quickly, following a public relations disaster last month when they were viewed as standing in the way a temporary tax cut extension that ultimately was enacted.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday about Keystone. Members had asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify, but Kerri-Ann Jones, the State Department official in charge of the Keystone permit, will appear instead.

(Reporting by Bill Trott and Richard Cowan; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (14)
dr.bob wrote:
TransCanada has shown interest in the line from N.Dakota to the Gulf already. No action is needed for this step. Why do I only trust Dr. Paul?

Jan 22, 2012 1:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
doggydaddy wrote:
Of course he will. Extortion is the Republican way. The pipeline sounds like a good idea, but it’s really only good for a few people. It does nothing to advance the interests of the US and only leaves us with the risk, a dynamic that we’re seeing way too much of these days.

Jan 22, 2012 1:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SanPa wrote:
Shovel ready, perhaps. But in the county where I live, shovel ready gas station projects still take several months to go through the permitting process. This project was only brought up around Thanksgiving. There is no real rush since routing oil via the Rockies or the Hudson would be costly or only afford seasonal egress.

Aside from the President’s interest in protecting water resources from a fate like that suffered in the Gulf, shouldn’t landowners in the way of this project get a market price for grant of easement? Those pushing the project are surely trying to force lower easement costs in the Canadian developers interest via enforcement under Kelo v. C of NL.

Jan 22, 2012 1:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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