Breaking: House GOP Cave on Tax Cut Extension Paves Way for Obama to Deny Keystone XL Permit

House Speaker John Boehner conceded to the inevitable and agreed to approve the Senate compromise that extends the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance two months.

That bill also includes, at the GOP’s insistence, a requirement that Obama make a decision within 60 days on the tar sands pipeline, which is likely fatal to Keystone XL (see “GOP Threaten to Harm the Economy If Obama Won’t Embrace Tar Sands Pipeline“).

Tweet from Dan Pfeiffer

Jeremy Symons of National Wildlife Federation has the latest, including quotes from Bill McKibben of, Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska:

So what does this mean for the pipeline?  Speaker Boehner is trying to satisfy Big Oil’s lobbyists and some of the GOP’s top corporate donors by forcing the president to make a hasty decision, but it will backfire.   I am confident that President Obama will stand up to big oil and reject this dangerous and unnecessary pipeline because it is the right thing to do, and that the American public will support him.  Americans understand that it is wrong to play political games and strip families of our right to protect our land and our clean water from foreign oil companies, because you can’t drink oil.

I asked  Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska and Bill McKibben of, two of the leading fighters to stop this pipeline,  for their reaction today as well. Here is what they wrote me:

Bill McKibben:  ”The administration’s promise to deny this permit, if fulfilled, will be one of the rare pieces of good news for the climate in a year which saw America shatter all records for billion-dollar weather disasters. The president campaigned hard in 2008 on trying to slow the climate crisis, and this would be a strong sign he meant what he said.”

Jane Kleeb: “The pipeline is unnecessary and a scam that would export the oil while burdening our families with all the risks.”


20 Responses to Breaking: House GOP Cave on Tax Cut Extension Paves Way for Obama to Deny Keystone XL Permit

  1. leptoquark says:

    If I were Obama, I would deny Keystone XL in the signing statement for the bill, then go on vacation. That would be an uncharacteristically bold action that would really cut the legs out from under the GOP. It would also force them to start raising Cain about Keystone during the holiday season when it wouldn’t get much traction.

    Clearly, the GOP is trying to strongarm Obama. He can take the initiative away from them by denying it right up front.

  2. Carla Coco says:

    leptoquark, this is *such* a brilliant suggestion, and it would really and truly make my day/year/decade if in fact he would do exactly this.


  3. Leif says:

    Sounds good to me leptoquark.

  4. Bob Geiger says:

    All true. But we need to be adding every time that this project would only create a few thousand temporary jobs. In fact, no net jobs according to the only independent study. If we are silent on the jobs angle, the Repbulican noise machine will own it. That is the way our side often gets beat even when the facts are in our favor. We cannot allow their unfounded jobs assertions to go unchallenged.

  5. mulp says:

    The XL Pipeline will NOT be denied. Merely the existing pipeline application which is and will be incomplete for at least 60 days because the application is being changed to reflect a new route. The pending denial of the incomplete application will certainly trigger the withdrawal of the application so a new application can be filed, after the 60 days are up.

    Nothing done today can change Harper and the oil companies determination to pillage and plunder Canada for purely conservative ideology and opposition to the elitism of the natural laws which dictate to conservatives they can’t get the free lunches conservatives believe they deserve.

    What I want to know is what is Bill McKibben’s plan for next month to stop the pillage and plunder of Canada. He will win no victory even if Obama gets to deny the application because it isn’t withdrawn first. The determination to pillage and plunder Canada and the majority support of Canadians for the destruction of their homeland will only be strengthen by “success” by McKibben.

    McKibben is not winning, but pushing the public to rally against McKibben’s goals because they will see McKibben, an American, killing Canadian job opportunity.

    And McKibben is doing everything needed to help defeat Democrats and Obama in 2012, and only Obama’s political skill at forcing the Republicans into a right wing black hole has provided Democrats with any future in the near term.

  6. Leif says:

    Sixty days will give Obama a State of the Union address to knock it out of the park and become the president I voted for last time.

    Getting down to bare knuckle time, Mr. President. Show us what you got.

  7. Paul Revere says:

    Why does anyone need more of a review? The author of this blog is an environmental expert and has reviewed the evidence, and BEFORE the pipeline was postponed the author wanted to CANCEL the pipeline on environmental grounds.
    It’s kind of obvious that Obama just wanted to kick the can past the 2012 election. No one suddenly realized a few months ago that “more review was needed” because review was needed–it was because Obama caved in as always to political pressure, this time anti-pipeline pressure, to postpone a decision (not even to cancel the pipeline).

  8. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Mulp, there come times when the planet simply must come first and the politics can sort themselves out later. Now is one of those times.

    I know people are trying to play the same old competitive game but the reality is that the game is over, ME

  9. MarkfromLexington says:

    We can create good jobs and end our dependence on foreign oil — but letting a foreign corporation transfer Canadian tar sands sludge through our heartland so it can be sold (tax free) to China isn’t going to do it.

    This message comes from a very effective one pager on the politics of Keystone XL written by Media Matters.

    I really like the way they have formatted their message into a one pager, with a core message, supporting points, responses to attacks and background information – all very powerful.

    Of course, they have a different perspective on the pipeline than Climate Progress – and make almost no mention of the environmental impact of the pipeline.

    I bring it to your attention because I believe the format they are using for communicating with their supporters is highly effective.

    I’d love to see a Climate Progress one pager for the key issues you are focused on.

    Thank you for all you do!

  10. denim says:

    The House Republicans can and likely will put the pipeline up for another hostage taking. They are allowed, Constitutionally, to introduce any bill on any issue that pleases their greedy little black hearts…or did you forget Civics 101?

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    Been waiting on this headline for decades –
    Paint-On Solar Cells Developed

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2011) — Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light — electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside.

    A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive “solar paint” that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy.

  12. Mitchell says:

    Mulp, please don’t assume “majority support of Canadians for the destruction of their homeland.” In lieu of a longer explanation of the multi-party dynamics in our House of Commons, and on the campaign trail, I’ll just assure you that public support for environmental protection, environmental health, and low-carbon energy futures in our country is alive and well. Just as it was in the U.S. — at the grassroots and, eventually, in the House and Senate — during eight years of Cheney-Bush.

  13. SecularAnimist says:

    I will be very surprised if Obama denies the Keystone XL permit, given the Obama administration’s consistent support for massively expanding fossil fuel extraction, from offshore oil drilling to coal mining on public lands. Sure, Obama wants to postpone the approval until after the election, but after all, what are the environmentalists going to do? Vote for Newt Gingrich?

  14. Sasparilla says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens, obviously the administration doesn’t want to cancel the pipeline (otherwise they wouldn’t have taken part in the crony capitalism grease for quick approval they’d done) otherwise they wouldn’t have approved the two large prior tar sands pipelines from Canada that are up and running.

    I’d guess some political maneuver will occur to avoid killing the pipeline, but we’ll have to wait and see.

  15. AG says:

    Won’t the Republicans just insist that approval of the pipeline is a condition for the full year extension of the tax holiday? I mean, 60 day extension 60 day decision, it fits.

  16. Jake says:

    Doesn’t this contain the light bulb efficiency standard repeal clause?

  17. Jake says:

    > “Sixty days will give Obama a State of the Union address to knock it out of the park and become the president I voted for last time.”

    Um, does that mean he’ll also become the president we elected last time when he wins? As you just pointed out, campaigning Obama is not President Obama.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    lepto, the problem is that you are not Obama, but I hope he strikes out in a new direction and acts as you recommend.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The only ‘political skill’ I detect on Obama’s part is his skill at rolling over and ‘triangulating’ ever further Right. He’s the logical next phase of the Clinton/Blair/Rudd sell-out of the ‘social democrats’ to the money power, our real masters. He will probably vault over the event horizon into that black-hole you speak of, and rely on the gullibility, masochism and desperation of the Left, and the contrived imbecility of the Repugnants to get him a second term. Canadian elections don’t matter so much as it is already a dependency of the USA and will probably be absorbed in the near future. I can well see Harper following such a course.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I think that you have it. In the political ‘Land of Wishful Thinking’ there’s a lot of self-delusion going on.