- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

President Obama’s jobs council endorsed a wide range of pro-growth proposals Tuesday that includes building oil pipelines and expanding drilling in the U.S., steps that House Republicans promptly noted are being blocked by Senate Democrats.

“The Road Map to Renewal” submitted to Mr. Obama by his team of industry leaders embraces more domestic production of fossil fuels. The report doesn’t specifically mention the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline on which the Obama administration has delayed a decision, but it does advocate building more domestic pipelines.

“Policies that facilitate the safe, thoughtful and timely development of pipeline, transmission and distribution projects are necessary to facilitate the delivery of America’s fuel and electricity and maintain the reliability of our nation’s energy system,” the report says.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the report wasn’t referring to Keystone, which environmental groups are pressuring the administration to reject.

“The jobs council wasn’t talking about Keystone specifically,” Mr. Carney said. “The jobs council was talking about the importance of expanding domestic oil and gas production, a goal this president shares.”

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the presidential jobs council’s recommendations for expanding domestic energy production, cutting government red tape and overhauling business taxes are exactly the policies passed by the House in the past year. Most of those bills have stalled in the Senate.

Late last year, GOP lawmakers approved legislation forcing the administration to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline, which could create 20,000 jobs, by the end of February.

“Nearly 30 House-passed job bills are awaiting action in the Senate, most of which address the recommendations made today,” Mr. Boehner said. “With American small businesses still suffering from the misguided policies implemented by the president, there is no excuse for these pro-growth bills to collect dust any longer.”

Among the council’s other recommendations that Republican lawmakers have supported:

• Lower corporate tax rates to “internationally competitive levels” while eliminating deductions and loopholes.

• Streamline government rules and regulations to reduce the financial burdens on businesses.

• Take more aggressive action to promote American manufacturing.

• Adopt an “all in” strategy on energy to reduce reliance on foreign oil and move toward cleaner fuel sources.

At a meeting at the White House on Tuesday morning, Mr. Obama cautioned that Congress might block the council’s legislative proposals to create jobs this year.

“I want you to know that obviously this year is an election year, and so getting Congress focused on some of these issues may be difficult,” said Mr. Obama, adding that he would keep pursuing some recommendations “administratively.”

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