Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives tied legislation over extending a tax cut to a measure that would push the White House to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline quickly.
Canadian pipeline company TransCanada aims to build Keystone XL to carry crude oil from tar sands projects in Alberta province to refineries along the southern U.S. coast. A move to reconsider the proposed route through Nebraska means the White House likely won't make a decision until after the November 2012 U.S. presidential elections.
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the partisan bickering over the tax cut proposal left his constituents wondering if lawmakers were "really trying to secure tax relief or score political points," Oklahoma news outlet NewsOK.com reports.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the payroll tax extension isn't going to pass, adding "the (Keystone XL) pipeline's probably not going to sell."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed, D-Nev., in a statement last week, said the Republican-sponsored measure has no chance of getting through the Democratic-controlled Senate. He said House leaders were trying to convince members to stand behind the measure "by weighing it down with a laundry list of policies whose sole purpose are scoring points against President (Barack) Obama."
Obama said last week said he wouldn't let Keystone Xl be "held hostage" by political issues.