Today in a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama made it clear that any Republican effort to try to force approval of the KeystoneXL pipeline project by attaching a rider to a payroll cut extension bill would fail.
From the transcript:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut I will reject. So everybody should be on notice. And the reason is because the payroll tax cut is something that House Republicans, as well as Senate Republicans, should want to do regardless of any other issues. The question is going to be, are they willing to vote against a proposal that ensures that Americans, at a time when the recovery is still fragile, don’t see their taxes go up by $1,000. So it shouldn’t be held hostage for any other issues that they may be concerned about.
And so my warning is not just specific to Keystone. Efforts to tie a whole bunch of other issues to something that they should be doing anyway will be rejected by me.
With respect to the politics, look, this is a big project with big consequences. We’ve seen Democrats and Republicans express concerns about it. And it is my job as President of the United States to make sure that a process is followed that examines all the options, looks at all the consequences before a decision is made.
Now, that process is moving forward. The State Department is making sure that it crosses all its t’s and dots all its i’s before making a final determination. And I think it’s worth noting, for those who want to try to politicize this issue, that when it comes to domestic energy production, we have gone all in, because our belief is, is that we’re going to have to do a whole range of things to make sure that U.S. energy independence exists for a long time to come -- U.S. energy security exists for a long time to come.
So we have boosted oil production. We are boosting natural gas production. We’re looking at a lot of traditional energy sources, even as we insist on transitioning to clean energy. And I think this shouldn't be a Democratic or a Republican issue; this should be an American issue -- how do we make sure that we’ve got the best possible energy mix to benefit our businesses, benefit our workers, but also benefit our families to make sure that the public health and safety of the American people are looked after. And that’s what this process is designed to do.
Good. I especially like the part about not letting them hold the payroll tax cut hostage to Republican agendas. Mitch McConnell was appropriately pissy, too. Gotta love this little hissy he threw:
"The President started getting heat from the environmental activists he’s counting on to stuff envelopes next year, so he put off a decision until after the election," said McConnell. "If this episode tells us anything, it’s that the President is clearly more concerned about getting himself reelected next year than getting somebody in Nebraska or Kansas or South Dakota or Missouri a job today."
McConnell's comments were part of a larger effort among Senate Republicans to pressure Obama to use a visit from Canada's prime minister on Wednesday as an opportunity to reverse his decision on the pipeline, which they saw will create jobs. The proposed pipeline would carry oil from Canada to American refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Hey, Senator McConnell. Stuff THIS. You're gonna pass a payroll tax cut and UI extension if you have a prayer of any of your party getting re-elected next year.
Happy Envelope Stuffer