GOP Forcing Obama's Hand in Keystone Pipeline
Helen Whalen Cohen
12/9/2011 7:43:00 PM - Helen Whalen Cohen
House Republicans released a bill which includes an extension of the payroll tax and unemployment benefits. In exchange, they are forcing President Obama's hand on the Keystone Pipeline. This legislation will require the president to either issue a permit within 60 days or explain in 15 days why the pipeline "would not serve the national interest". We'll see how this plays out.
House Republicans on Friday released their legislation to extend the payroll-tax cut, reform and extend unemployment insurance and delay changes to the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors.
The House Rules Committee scheduled a hearing on the legislation for Monday to craft procedures for its consideration on the floor. A vote could then come as early as Tuesday. The 369-page bill is titled the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 and is sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
The Keystone provision is the first measure in the bill. It directs the president to grant a permit for the pipeline within 60 days. But it does not force his hand completely. The president, according to the legislation, is not required to grant the permit if he determines that the pipeline “would not serve the national interest.” In that event, Obama would have 15 days to submit a report to Congress explaining his decision.