Entries in Keystone XL (6)


Rick Perry: XL Pipeline Decision Shows Obama’s Mixed Priorities

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(GREER, S.C.) -- At a stop on his Main Street walk in Greer on Wednesday, Texas Gov.  Rick Perry argued that the president’s decision to formally reject the Keystone XL pipeline permit shows his priorities are on re-election, not the future of the country.

“It doesn’t surprise me but...again, the president’s focused more on the next election than on the next generation. Getting this country independent of foreign sources of crude from countries that are not our friends is really problematic so, this Canadian oil, there’s a possibility we could lose it to China with that decision,” Perry told reporters in a shop along Main Street.

Perry said he hoped Americans would “become unhinged” with the decision as the country faced the possibility of paying $4 or $5 a gallon for gasoline.

Since December, in his stump speeches, the Texas governor has consistently criticized the administration and Congress for their resistance to the XL pipeline, saying the president should not allow the oil to head to China instead of using it here in the United States.

As he tried to differentiate himself from the president on ideology, Perry called himself the candidate who could provide a “bright contrast” to Obama.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Glimmer of Hope? Renewed Optimism on Payroll-Tax Cut Deal

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There are signs of hope Thursday in the Senate that a deal will be struck to extend the payroll-tax cut and avoid a government shutdown.

Both party's Senate leaders, who met Wednesday night and will continue to meet Thursday, came to the Senate floor this morning refreshed and with a renewed sense of confidence, indicating that they might be close to a deal on both issues.

“We hope that we can come up with something that would get us out of here at a reasonable time in the next few days,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the Senate floor this morning.

So too echoed the Republican leader.

“We hope to be able to pass a combination of appropriation bills and we are working hard to resolve the remaining differences on the payroll-tax extension and the related issues that are important to both sides,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “We’re confident and optimistic we’ll be able to resolve both on a bipartisan basis.”

But differences still remain and the deadlines tick closer by the second.

At issue is the payroll bill, with Republicans still fighting for the Keystone oil pipeline provision to remain in the bill, a major sticking point with Democrats and President Obama. Democrats Wednesday night indicated they would be willing to drop the surtax on Americans making more than $1 million a year, which Republicans adamantly opposed, as a way to pay for their bill. But it’s unclear whether that would be sufficient to pick up enough votes.

House Republicans Wednesday night discussed the possibility of a stand-alone, $1 trillion spending bill that they could vote on as early as today. Reid said Thursday morning it would be a “mistake” if the House moved on its own bill and left for the holiday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House Passes Extension of Payroll Tax Credit; Keystone Ties Remain

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House Tuesday passed the Republican bill to extend the payroll tax credit by a vote of 234-193. The legislation will also extend and reform unemployment insurance.

Ten Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with the Republican majority. Fourteen Republicans voted against the measure.

All of this is tied to the Keystone XL Pipeline, making it DOA in the Senate. The president has also said he would veto this legislation if it came to his desk in its current form.

House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement following the passage, saying, “It is disappointing that the White House has threatened to veto its top legislative priority for reasons that the Washington Post has reported are entirely fictitious.”

“The American people are still asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ The House is listening and just passed a common-sense jobs bill on their behalf,” he states. “Now the Democrats who run Washington have a responsibility to act. The Senate can take up our bill and amend it, or it can pass its own bill. But the Democrats who run the Senate can’t continue to shirk their responsibility to govern. The American people are waiting on them.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pelosi Rips GOP for Weekend Without Passing Extensions

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Friday after Congress adjourned and members left Washington without passing extensions for three economic measures set to expire at the end of the year.

“At kitchen tables across the country, families are making difficult choices: ‘Can we buy toys for our children during the holidays and still afford to pay the bills in January? Can we put gas in the car and still afford to put food on the table?’” Pelosi, D-Calif., asked in a new YouTube video. “Congress can take action to help those families today by making a firm promise: We will not go home for the holidays without extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.”

Pelosi said that Republicans should have committed to working through the weekend on a bipartisan solution.

“Republicans should join Democrats at the table to get the job done,” she said. “As one people, we must also reaffirm our commitment to giving voice to all Americans, not just the privileged few. Americans can’t wait. We must act now.”

The House concluded legislative business for the week Thursday afternoon and met for a brief pro forma session Friday morning before shutting down until Monday. The Democrat-controlled Senate also adjourned for the weekend, even though its leadership pledged to wait out Republicans. The difference is that this week the Senate rejected four alternatives to extend the payroll tax credit.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is responsible for setting the floor schedule, told lawmakers that after this weekend’s two-day break, the House would stay in session until all the business of the first session of the 112th Congress was concluded. Still, legislators aim to finish up business by next Friday, although Cantor said a weekend session was still possible.

Thursday, House Republicans proclaimed that they had reached consensus within their ranks on a measure to extend the payroll tax credit, unemployment insurance benefits and the SGR/Doc Fix. That mega-bill is expected to reach the House floor early next week, but a provision to force the president to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project is likely to doom the package from passing in the Senate or from President Obama signing it.

House Republicans believe that all three measures should be paid for, but Pelosi disagrees on paying for the payroll tax cut extension because the extension “would have a stimulative effect,” she said, although she would not rule out striking a deal to finance it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Rejects GOP Bid to Tie Payroll Tax Cut to Keystone Pipeline

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama warned congressional Republicans Wednesday that he will reject any attempt to tie a payroll tax cut extension to approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which supporters say would create thousands of new jobs.

“Any effort to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut, I will reject. So everybody can be on notice,” Obama said during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Last month, the administration postponed a decision on the pipeline to allow for an extended environmental review that’s expected to last until after the 2012 campaign.

“The payroll tax cut is something that House Republicans and Senate Republicans should want to do regardless of any other issues,” Obama added. “The question’s 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 a thousand dollars? So it shouldn’t be held hostage for any other issues that they may be concerned about.”

But Republicans insist Obama is playing politics with a project that has strong bipartisan support, including from labor unions, and which would help boost the lagging economy. Harper has also publicly pressured the administration to approve the deal.

"While it might make for inconvenient politics for the President, the administration is out of excuses and running out of time. Prime Minister Harper has made clear that if this project is not approved, American competitors, such as China, will gain from our loss,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement before Obama’s remarks. “This project is good for the economy, and it’s good for America’s energy security.”

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck responded to Obama’s veto threat by suggesting the House GOP bill addressing the payroll tax cut and pipeline issues should be a point of common ground. “If President Obama threatens to veto it over a provision that creates American jobs, that’s a fight we’re ready to have,” he said in a statement.

Obama denied that politics played a role in the project’s delay, saying a “big project with big consequences” deserves thorough review, which the State Department is conducting.

Harper said he discussed the issue during a meeting with Obama Wednesday and that he accepts that  Obama is “following a proper process to eventually make the decision here in the United States and that he has an open mind in regard to what the final decision may or may not be.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Salazar Defends Obama on Environment, Energy: We've Moved Out of 'Hummer Age'

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Wednesday defended President Obama's record on the environment amid deepening criticism from green allies over a 2008 campaign promise to "end the tyranny of oil."

"It's like moving the Titanic," Salazar said of the administration's effort to work with Congress to build a "new energy framework."

"Notwithstanding that, we have made a lot of progress," he said. "As a U.S. senator, I remember using the statistic of our imports of 70 percent of oil from other countries. Today, our imports are down to less than 50 percent, the last figure I saw."

Salazar said Obama has moved the U.S. out of the "Hummer Age" -- referring to the gas-guzzing General Motors-made SUV -- by imposing sweeping new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and promoting new technologies that allow some cars and trucks to run solely on renewable energy.

"I think that when the environmental community looks at what it is we've done to transform the energy reality, the energy future of the United States, I think they ought to say we've done a pretty good job," he said.

The comments came as the administration tangles with environmental activists over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Texas gulf coast.

A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday to block land-clearing for the project, which the State Department has not yet approved but which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she's "inclined" to do. They have also alleged bias and corruption in the administration's vetting process for the deal, charges that officials deny.

The issue has even spilled onto the campaign trail, when hecklers interrupted Obama during a St. Louis fundraiser Tuesday night, asking, "Will you stop the pipeline?" Obama continued undeterred except to say, "We've got a couple of people here who are concerned about the environment."

Critics say the issue is shaping up to be the clearest test of Obama's commitment to environmental policy after a string of decisions by his administration deeply opposed by green allies.

This week, the administration upheld 500 leases for drilling in the Arctic Ocean, while earlier this month it shelved new EPA standards for ozone emissions, which Obama said imposed undue regulatory burdens.

Many Republicans and oil industry groups support the pipeline, saying construction will create American jobs and lead to greater access to oil supplies for U.S. markets.

The administration is holding a public hearing on the pipeline on Friday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to rule on the matter before the end of the year. It's unclear whether or not Obama will get directly involved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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