Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Obama Warns Republicans Not to Tie Keystone Pipeline to Payroll Tax Cut

Published December 07, 2011
| Associated Press

President Obama warned congressional Republicans that he would reject any effort to tie extraneous issues to an extension of the payroll tax cut, including the approval of an oil pipeline between the U.S. and Canada. 
"If the payroll tax cut is attached to a whole bunch of extraneous issues not related to making sure that Americans' taxes don't go up on Jan. 1, it's not something I would accept," Obama said Wednesday following a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 

Obama stopped short of issuing a veto threat, saying he did not believe lawmakers should let the issue get to that point. 
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders have pushed for Obama to approve the pipeline project, saying it would create much-needed jobs in the U.S. And they've suggested adding a provision to a payroll tax cut bill that would be designed to speed construction of the pipeline. 
The payroll tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year. If the cuts are not extended, the White House says the average family would see their taxes increase by $1,000. 
The Obama administration has decided to delay a decision on whether to proceed with the pipeline until 2013, after the presidential election. The move was poorly received in Canada, which views the project as critical to its economy. Labor groups in the U.S., as well as Republican lawmakers, also want the pipeline. 
The White House has denied that politics caused the project's delay, saying further review is needed in order to balance job creation and energy security with public health and the safety of communities along the pipeline. 
With Harper by his side, Obama said it was important for Canadians to need to make sure all questions regarding the pipeline project were properly understood, especially the environmental impact and the health and safety issues. 
"I assured him we will have a very rigorous process to work through that issue," Obama said. 
Harper has been critical of the delay, and has suggested that American politics may be at play. 
But standing alongside Obama at the White House Wednesday, Harper was more measured. He showed no sign that their talks had yielded any progress on the issue. 
"Barack and I have discussed that on many occasions. He's indicated to me, as he's indicated to you today, that he's following the proper process," he said. "I take that as his answer and you can appreciate that I would not comment on domestic politics on this issue or any other issue here in the United States."

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