Skip to comments.Dem (aka 'bipartisan') Keystone support creates tougher fight for Reid, Obama
Posted on 12/16/2011 9:20:59 PM PST by Libloather
Dem Keystone support creates tougher fight for Reid, Obama
By Alexander Bolton - 12/16/11 04:08 PM ET
Republicans want to jam Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the Keystone oil sands pipeline and the Democratic leader will have a tough time resisting, given support within his caucus for the project.
GOP leaders have made clear to Reid that they will not approve an extension of the payroll tax holiday unless it includes language to speed up construction of the pipeline.
Senate Republicans estimate as many as 14 Senate Democrats support the project. Labor unions have also voiced strong backing, complicating Reids endgame talks with GOP leaders.
I personally think the pipeline is absolutely in the national interest. Itll help us reduce our dependence on foreign energy, at least foreign sources that are hostile to our interests, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday. I, for one, on this side would hope that this could be part of a final package.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Thursday the pipeline has more support among Democrats than her leaders acknowledge.
Its always had more Democratic support than people thought, she said.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said on the Senate floor Tuesday: I am proud to again offer my support for the Keystone XL pipeline and the jobs it will create. We need a quicker decision, based on the merits of this project.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told House GOP colleagues Friday morning he would force the Senate to vote on expediting Keystone by attaching it to the bill that Senate leaders are crafting on a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.
Republicans say they will also insist on including Keystone in a yearlong extension of the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits and a one-year freeze in scheduled cuts to Medicare reimbursements.
Republican leaders see it as a juicy political issue to use against President Obama. If Democrats block it, it reinforces the GOP message that the administrations regulatory agenda slows job growth.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday afternoon that he and Boehner would not agree to any package extending the payroll tax holiday that did not include the Keystone language.
Theres bipartisan support for this project and we need to get it done. We need to get it done now, McConnell said. The House of Representatives has been quite clear that theyre not going to support a package that does not include the pipeline. Frankly, I will not be able to support a package that doesnt include the pipeline.
McConnell said White House officials want to separate the Keystone pipeline from the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits but that it makes no sense to treat it in standalone legislation.
Lets also include something that actually helps the private sector create the jobs Americans need for the long term, he said.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) took to Twitter to make the same demand, proclaiming that Keystone XL pipeline WILL be part of final tax package.
At his briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney again criticized Republicans for inserting the extraneous pipeline issue into the bill, and said the State Department review process should be able to run its course.
However, Carney declined to rule out the White House accepting a bill with Keystone provisions. I am not going to prejudge a final product that does not yet exist, Carney said.
Carney rejected the notion that the president's opposition to the Keystone language is political.
"What he has said is that there are criteria that must be considered...You can't approve something before you have something to review. This is a process run by the State Department...that process needs to be reviewed," Carney said. "Again, the president is not making a judgment on whether the permit should or should not be granted. But what it shouldn't be is short-circuited because folks think it ought to be. That's what that review process is all about."
State is the agency charged with the review of Keystone, and it has said it would have to reject Keystone if the House language is approved because it would not have to do a sufficient review.
Senate Republican aides say Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Warner (Va.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) also support the Keystone language.
All the trade unions, everyones for it, it creates thousands of jobs, Manchin said on Fox News earlier this week.
Several Republican senators who are skeptical about the effectiveness of cutting payroll taxes to stimulate the economy say the Keystone pipeline gives them an important reason to vote for it.
Labor leaders have pushed Democratic leaders to concede on the pipeline, which is strongly opposed by environmentalists.
Throughout America's Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect, Mark Ayers, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, wrote in an opinion piece published by The Huffington Post last month.
Speaking about the ongoing negotiations on the payroll tax bill, Carney said, "There's a process at work. I'm not going to analyze what language would be acceptable and what wouldn't."
He said the president's primary focus is in getting the payroll tax bill passed.
"I'm not going to get ahead of the process," Carney said. "The president's priority is ensuring that Americans do not get that tax hike ... it's vital to the economy."
Eat that BHO!
The White House and Dims nationwide knew, upon his pronouncements, that they were going to get slaughtered.
Folks, do not doubt the power of intellectual leadership.
Democrats: Concession to GOP on Keystone will force Obama to kill pipeline
By Alexander Bolton - 12/16/11 09:08 PM ET
Senate Democrats say the Obama administration will kill the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a controversial issue in the debate to extend the payroll tax holiday.
Senate leaders on Friday agreed to a two-month backstop measure to extend payroll tax relief, which included House-passed language to expedite a decision on the pipeline's construction. The Senate will vote on the measure Saturday morning.
Republicans hailed inclusion of the pipeline provision as a victory, but Democrats said the practical effect of the language would be to kill the project.
Theyve just killed the Keystone pipeline. They killed it because they forced the president to make a decision before he can make it so hes not going to move forward with it, said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an ally of environmental groups.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he was not concerned about giving in to Republicans on the Keystone provision.
The president is apparently just going to use the option given to him not to let it go [forward], said Levin. Theres a waiver in there which we understand the president is going to exercise.
A senior Obama administration official noted that the president said he would not accept an attempt by Congress to mandate construction before adequate review of health and safety regulations.
The officials said the House-passed Keystone language merely speeds up the decision process but does not determine whether the project would be approved.
Officials at the State Department, which has authority over approving the project, said they would not be able to conduct the necessary review if given only 60 days, the timeline set by House Republicans.
A spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats are trying to spin the outcome of the payroll tax relief talks in the best possible light.
If it was not such a big deal, why did they fight so hard to keep the language out of the bill, said the aide. Take it with a grain of salt.
Stab-me-now’s in favor.
BaBa can live in LaLa land if she wants to.
But she's just been rolled.
The White House will approve. They have no choice, politically.
If Obama veteos, the Red State Senators...nearly 20 of them up for election in 2012...will overtly rebel and dis the POTUS on NationWide TV.
And that's the message Reid will convey to the White House.
Oh this is just too much. Neither Obama nor the State Department knows anything about producing oil or jobs. All they know is how to produce steaming piles of bullshit.
The way I see it is this...Keystone would create thousands of jobs. Decreasing unemployment and increasing tax revenue.
At the same time extending the payroll tax reduction (not that I necessarily agree with that, but many will.)
If O needs to retain the envirornmentalist vote, he may want to find another way.
The only question I have is this..I thought that any oil we find goes into the “global pool” and can’t be kept for our exclusive use???
Indeed, if Obama vetoes the bill, he takes the heat. If he signs the bill but then says no to construction, he takes more heat. The latter will be worse because the unions will be looking forward to his signing it for the jobs to be created. To have their hopes raised then dashed will not make them happy at all. Checkmate!
I thought the State Dept already passed the Keystone project?
And how come nobody is talking about Obama defunding Social Security for his tax cut?
“If O needs to retain the environmentalist vote , he may need to find another way.”
The environmentalist vote has no where else to go. If Obama kills the pipeline it is because he wants it dead.
........and where does the State Department get its marching orders.
The only question I have is this..I thought that any oil we find goes into the global pool and cant be kept for our exclusive use???
The “pool” does not become global until our pool is full. Yes, we ship oil from AK to the far east due to the economics and we are shipping refined gas overseas, but what that indicates is our storage capacity is over flowing.
Within 60 Obama must choose between an immediate 20,000 jobs or environmental wackos but either which way he will lose some group.
Obama and Reid were out maneuvered despite the initial Lame Stream Media claim that the GOP put themselves in a box.
Perhaps zero will just hold his breath until he gets his way. That will show them.
“The only question I have is this..I thought that any oil we find goes into the global pool and cant be kept for our exclusive use???”
OIL is in a world market, but not natural gas.
The current prices of oil are WTI West Texas Intermediate Cushing Spot $93.53, and Brent Spot $104.06.
But gas markets are regional, as it is transported by pipeline. As large LNG ocean carriers increase, there will develop a world market and world price for natural gas. BUT now it is based on the region it is produced in.
Current US prices Henry Hub Spot $3.03/1000scf and $3.33 at New York Spot.
Since the energy equivalence between a bbl of oil and 1000scf of gas is 5.8, the EQUIVALENT PRICE of natural gas is $17.57 to $19.31. Call it an average of $18 bbl of oil equivalent for Natural Gas versus $94 for oil.
THIS IS WHY natural gas is SO good for the US.
(A) the money stays here.
(B) it is SO much cheaper than oil, and
(C) for powerplants, so much cleaner than coal
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