WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House of Representatives will include approval of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline in a payroll tax cut bill, House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday, raising the political stakes on the issue.
The move by House Republicans marked a challenge to President Barack Obama, who has warned he would veto any bill that linked quick approval of TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline to extending a tax cut for American workers that is due to expire on December 31.
“The Keystone pipeline would put tens of thousands of Americans to work immediately,” Boehner told reporters after meeting with House Republicans on Thursday.
Both Republicans and Democrats want to pass an extension of the payroll tax cut in the next two weeks, but they are divided on how best to do it.
“Here’s what I know: however many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline, they’re going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance,” Obama told reporters at the White House on Thursday.
Republican Lee Terry, who sponsored the Keystone measure, said he thinks it makes more sense to put people to work than keep them on unemployment benefits.
“I don’t know why you would snub your nose at creating 20,000 jobs next year,” the Nebraska Republican told Reuters.
WILL IT CLEAR SENATE?
The Keystone measure helped Republican leaders secure support for their bill, but it still needs to pass the Democratic-led Senate, where some lawmakers have already urged Majority Leader Harry Reid to reject it.
Reid on Thursday called the House bill “a partisan joke that has no chance of passing the Senate,” and criticized it for including “a laundry list of policies whose sole purpose are scoring points against President Obama.”
Lee said he is not optimistic the measure will clear the hurdle. “The problem is that Harry Reid has become the president’s best offensive lineman, blocking anything from getting to the president’s desk,” Lee said in an interview.
Approval of the pipeline, which would carry 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada’s tar sands, currently rests with the State Department. The Republican measure would take the decision out of the hands of Obama and give it to an energy regulator.
Obama directed the State Department last month to conduct an additional environmental review of the $7 billion pipeline. That would punt the decision on whether to approve the project until after next year’s presidential election.
Environmentalists say the pipeline would threaten Nebraska’s Sand Hills region and lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions, and had threatened to hold back on campaigning for Obama in the election.
But some union leaders have decried the delay, saying the pipeline would create jobs for their members.
A coalition of more than 30 green groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and League of Conservation Voters, wrote to congressional leaders this week urging them to keep so-called “policy riders” out of the tax cut bill.
Another rider in the House bill would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on pollution from power plants and boilers.
“Trying to add unrelated, anti-environmental riders to last-minute bills is nothing more than hostage-taking,” the groups said.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Donna Smith; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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Rep. Rashida Tlaib defies Trump in NAACP speech: ‘I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president’
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) defiantly insisted on Monday that she would be in Congress until President Donald Trump is impeached.
At the 2019 annual NAACP convention, the announcer noted that Tlaib is a member of the four congresswomen known as The Squad who have recently been told by Trump to "go back" home.
Tlaib began her remarks by alluding to the president's attack.
"I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president," she shouted.
Watch the video below from the NAACP.
Why this 2017 German magazine’s cover painting of Trump as a Nazi is getting so much attention now
Just months after Donald Trump was sworn in as President, a drawing of the nascent American president was featured on the cover of a top German magazine. Trump was painted as draped in the American flag, and giving a Nazi salute. That chilling August 2017 edition of the German weekly magazine, Stern, received tremendous international attention.
"His fight! Neo-Nazis, KU-Klux Klan, racism: How Donald Trump is protecting hate in America," is a Facebook-generated translation of the cover story's title.
Kellyanne Conway erupts after Fox hosts question Trump’s attacks on The Squad
Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday went off on an angry rant after Fox News hosts questioned the wisdom of President Donald Trump's latest attacks on four Democratic lawmakers known as "The Squad."
In particular, Conway was asked about Trump's tweet in which he said Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were incapable of loving the United States.
Conway responded by attacking the women for voting against funding for the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, which the lawmakers argued would just be giving the president money to further his campaign of abusing immigrants.