- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
GOP digging in heels over oil pipeline
Pushing it in transportation bill
Question of the Day
House Republicans are holding strong on their support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, pushing for the transcontinental project to be included in a key transportation bill scheduled to be hashed out between Senate and House negotiators in the coming weeks.
If the final “highway bill” emerges intact with the pipeline provision, it will set up a showdown with President Obama, who has threatened to veto the measure if it includes Keystone.
“The Keystone pipeline would create some 20,000 jobs immediately and … over a hundred thousand indirect jobs as a result,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, on Wednesday. “As we go to conference [with the Senate] on the highway bill with the Keystone pipeline attached to it, I think it’s time for the Senate to get serious about the need to expand American energy production.”
The House on Wednesday voted to send negotiators to a conference committee with the Senate to draft a final transportation bill. The upper chamber approved its conferees a day earlier. The committee likely will commence after Congress returns from a weeklong break May 7.
Keystone would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast. It has strong support from both business and labor groups but is opposed by leading environmentalist groups.
House Republicans have pressed to include the Keystone measure in the transportation bill, while most Democrats in both chambers are adamant on leaving it out, saying it’s an unrelated issue.
A transportation bill with a Keystone provision would force the president into a politically precarious corner: veto the bill and risk halting federally funded transportation projects and jobs, or go back on his word and accept a controversial pipeline he has insisted needs more review.
But the move stalled in the House, where Republicans rejected their leadership’s five-year, $260 billion version. The chamber was forced late last month to pass a 90-day temporary funding extension in order to avert an end-of-March shutdown of federal transportation projects.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John L. Mica, Florida Republican, said there is widespread support in the House for Keystone, but he stopped short of insisting it be included in the final legislation.
“A lot of the members on both sides of the aisle are supportive of making certain that’s part of whatever we come up with,” Mr. Mica told reporters Wednesday. “We’re going to fight and work to see that we get as many big provisions (in the transportation bill) as possible. We’re rolling up our sleeves.”
One Democrat named to the conference committee, Sen. Max Baucus, supports Keystone and could be an ally to Republicans pressing to include the provision in the final bill. But the Montana lawmaker, in a statement released through his office, has tamped down such assumptions.
“No one is a bigger supporter of the Keystone pipeline than Sen. Baucus, and he is looking for every opportunity to help move the project forward,” the statement said. “But Sen. Baucus will not put more than one million American jobs supported by the highway bill in jeopardy unless he’s sure whatever Keystone measure proposed has the legs to pass Congress, be signed into law, and stand up to legal scrutiny, so we don’t end up delaying the project even further by getting it tied up in the courts.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- New York City creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
- Obama calls GOP lawsuit over executive overreach a 'political stunt'
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- CRUZ: 'Fahrenheit 451' Democrats
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs