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Friday, December 16, 2011

Is Obama Backing Down From Keystone Pipeline Veto Threat?

Is Obama Backing Down From Keystone Pipeline Veto Threat?

Tree Huggers Will Scream - Unions Will Cheer

By Dell Hill via Hot Air

In a capitulation that’s bound to anger his far-left wing political base, President Barack Obama appears ready to abandon his threat to veto the payroll tax cut extension bill, despite issuing a serious warning to that effect just days ago.  The President’s major qualm was the Republican backed rider concerning the Keystone oil pipeline project.

Today, the President’s press secretary refused to address several questions concerning that veto threat and it would appear he’ll either sign the bill in to law or allow it to become law without his signature.  Either way, it’s another big win for Republican leadership.

AllahPundit, writing at Hot Air, had these thoughts.

Good lord.  Not only did he promise to veto the payroll-tax-cut extension if the Keystone provision was attached, he did it at a press conference with Stephen Harper standing right next to him.  His own party must have realized the cave was coming, though, because Emanuel Cleaver was backing off the threat just two days after The One made it.  The politics were poisonous: Not only did it give the GOP an opening to seize the mantle of job creation, it pitted labor against Obama and the greens — and on top of all that, a veto would have meant torpedoing a tax break for the middle class, which he was never going to do with an election less than a year away.  (That’s also why he caved on the millionaire surtax, natch.)  Reminds me of the GOP’s predicament in the debt-ceiling standoff: O took a hostage he simply wasn’t prepared to shoot.”

“White House spokesman Jay Carney declined several opportunities to say that President Barack Obama would veto the tax cut if it contained language aimed at expediting the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline project.  Obama last week said he would reject efforts to tie the pipeline to the payroll tax…

Carney told reporters he would not comment on what language regarding the pipeline would be acceptable to the president.

Senate Republicans think there are 14 Democrats willing to vote for the Keystone provision, which would be just enough to beat the filibuster.  The White House must think so too or else Carney wouldn’t suddenly be conspicuously noncommittal.  To be clear, the provision wouldn’t automatically approve the pipeline, it would merely force Obama to make a decision on it within the next 60 days.

But that’s no help to O: Remember, his goal here isn’t necessarily to cancel the pipeline but merely to postpone a decision until after the election so that he’s not forced yet to choose between labor and the greens.  Henry Waxman’s confident that if the provision passes, O will turn around and cancel it on grounds that Congress didn’t give him enough time to study the environmental effects.  Fine — let him make that decision under a media microscope and then spend the next 10 months defending it.  Can’t wait for the GOP attack ads showing glum union members sitting around with unused oil equipment.”

Dell’s Bottom Line:  I have to strongly believe that the President is getting a tremendous amount of pressure from within his own party on this one.  After all, elections are just around the corner and those Democrats running for re-election are going to have a tough enough time as it is, trying to justify supporting a President who’s run the country right into the ground.  Eliminating several thousand jobs isn’t the way to go about that.

Now add in the sour faces of thousands of union workers who would be in line to hold those jobs and you get a much clearer picture of how Obama painted himself into a corner.  He’s trying to keep the “greenies” happy and slapping the unions to do so.  Something had to give and the unions spend millions on elections.  It was a no-brainer, really.

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