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Keystone Pipeline Tied To Payroll Tax Cuts

December 13, 2011, 6:17 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Keystone Pipeline Tied To Payroll Tax Cuts
WASHINGTON, D.C. - TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would cut through western South Dakota is now tied to the Washington debate on extending the payroll tax cut.

Tuesday, the U.S. House approved a bill that would continue the cuts and fast track approval of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

President Barack Obama and the U.S. State Department have delayed approval of the Keystone XL project until early 2013.

The Obama administration says it wants more time to study the environmental impacts, but TransCanada was hoping to have approval for that pipeline by now.

Republicans say by delaying the decision, the administration is delaying nearly 20,000 construction jobs across the country; that's why they tacked on a provision in the House version of the payroll tax cut bill to speed up approval of the project.

Senate Democrats say they'll block the House version of the bill that includes the provision for the Keystone XL project, but Republicans argue the project needs to happen soon to create real construction jobs now.

"The only thing arbitrary about this decision is the decision by the president to say, 'Well, let's wait until after the next election,'” Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner said. “The American people want jobs. This is as close to a shovel-ready project as you're ever going to see. This is exactly the description of the kind of jobs plans the president says he wants to enact."

"Everyone has to be clear here.  If Republicans support giving middle class and working Americans a tax cut next year, they should move a payroll tax cut bill that does that,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said. “They should not move a bill that won't get anywhere in the Senate, that has a provision within it that is counter entirely to its own aims, and is filled with other things that are simply not acceptable. If they want it done, they should get it done."

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