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White House Rejects Bill Linking Oil Pipeline To Payroll Tax Cuts

Staff Reporters |
December 13, 2011 | 2:53 p.m. PST

A protestor outside of the White House earlier this year. (Creative Commons)
A protestor outside of the White House earlier this year. (Creative Commons)
The White House plans to veto legislation to extend payroll tax cuts that passed the House on Tuesday afternoon and still must pass the Senate because the bill requires President Barack Obama to decide on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project within 60 days.

House Republicans packed the two unrelated measures into one bill at the end of November. Obama, facing pressue from environmentalists, previously postponed a decision on the oil pipeline until after next year's presidential election.

The White House veto threat puts the extension of a payroll tax cut in jeopardy and leaves Congress with three days to pass a bill to keep the government from shutting down.

Republicans say the pipeline project will create jobs without spending any government money. They say not approving the bill and the project is playing political games. Obama and Democrats counter that Republicans are the ones playing politics.

Obama and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid discussed stategy at the White House on Tuesday, and it was unclear how the situation in Washington would unfold the rest of the week.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the House bill was a "balanced package" and that Republicans were supportive of extending unemployment benefits with some reforms "for a period of time" and of extending the payroll tax cuts for a year.

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