Pro-Keystone Lawmaker Doubts GOP Will Tether Pipeline to Debt Ceiling

“I just don’t see it being connected right now,” Rep. Lee Terry, an outspoken pipeline advocate from Nebraska.

View of the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada on October 25, 2009. Greenpeace is calling for an end to oil sands mining in the region due to their greenhouse gas emissions and have recently staged sit-ins which briefly halted production at several mines. At an estimated 175 billion barrels, Alberta's oil sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world behind Saudi Arabia, but they were neglected for years, except by local companies, because of high extraction costs. Since 2000, skyrocketing crude oil prices and improved extraction methods have made exploitation more economical, and have lured several multinational oil companies to mine the sands.  
National Journal
Ben Geman
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Ben Geman
Feb. 4, 2014, 6:20 a.m.

A House Re­pub­lic­an at the fore­front of the Key­stone XL pipeline battle doubts the GOP will try to teth­er a debt-ceil­ing in­crease to White House ap­prov­al of the pro­ject.

“I just don’t see it be­ing con­nec­ted right now,” Rep. Lee Terry, an out­spoken pipeline ad­voc­ate from Neb­raska, told Na­tion­al Journ­al on Tues­day.

House GOP lead­er­ship hasn’t ruled out try­ing to link the pro­posed oil sands pipeline, which re­mains un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion re­view, with the bill to pre­vent de­fault.

Re­pub­lic­ans are still weigh­ing vari­ous policy goals they want tethered to the debt lim­it.

House Speak­er John Boehner on Tues­day re­newed calls for Pres­id­ent Obama to ap­prove Key­stone, call­ing it a way to boost jobs and en­ergy se­cur­ity, but he didn’t dir­ectly ad­dress a ques­tion about us­ing the debt bill as lever­age.

But Terry said the de­cis­ive phase of the State De­part­ment’s pipeline re­view that’s now be­gin­ning makes a debt man­euver very tough.

State’s fi­nal en­vir­on­ment­al ana­lys­is of Key­stone re­leased Fri­day, which buoyed pipeline sup­port­ers, launches new pub­lic com­ment and a 90-day peri­od of in­put from oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies.

“The real­ity is, they have a 90-day re­prieve be­cause of the com­ment peri­od where it is hard to ad­voc­ate in­ter­fer­ing with that or do­ing something to dur­ing that 90-day peri­od; and the debt lim­it comes up with­in that peri­od, so the tim­ing of when they star­ted that 90-day clock kind of … in­ter­feres with our abil­ity to use the debt ceil­ing,” Terry said at the Cap­it­ol.

Sev­er­al Re­pub­lic­ans who at­ten­ded this morn­ing’s GOP Con­fer­ence meet­ing said law­makers did not talk about spe­cif­ic debt-ceil­ing op­tions dur­ing the ses­sion.

“There were no spe­cif­ics that were dis­cussed, but we will do that dur­ing the course of the week,” said Rep. Mar­sha Black­burn, a Ten­ness­ee Re­pub­lic­an.

The cur­rent debt-lim­it sus­pen­sion ends Feb. 7, but Treas­ury Sec­ret­ary Jac­ob Lew has said he can use ex­traordin­ary meas­ure to avoid de­fault un­til late Feb­ru­ary.

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