Boehner Ties Oil Pipeline to Payroll Tax Bill

John Boehner

The House passed such a bill this week, but Senate Democrats expect to block it in a vote tentatively set for Saturday as the Congressional logjam slipped into the weekend. In the absence of agreement on a full-year bill, Senate leaders are considering a two-month extension of the payroll tax relief and jobless benefits. The revised bill would go back to the House.

“The House has done its work,” Mr. Boehner said Friday. “We’re waiting on the United States Senate. But these rumors that are floating around here about a two-month extension, I’ll just say this: If that bill comes over to us, we will make changes to it, and I will guarantee you that the Keystone pipeline will be in there when it goes back to the United States Senate.” President Obama has said he wants more time to study the environmental effects of the pipeline, and he has, in effect, deferred a decision on its approval until after the 2012 elections.

“Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut, I will reject,” Mr. Obama said last week.

At a meeting of the House Republican caucus on Friday, party leaders told lawmakers that they should be prepared to return to the Capitol next week to vote on a new version of the payroll tax bill as revised by the Senate.

House leaders were rounding up votes in support of the separate spending measure that would pay for government operations through Sept. 30, 2012. The Senate was expected to consider the bill as early as Friday with a stop-gap funding measure due to expire at midnight.

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