Republicans Plot New Strategy for Keystone Pipeline, Eyeing Debt-Ceiling Bill

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July, 11, 2012, after the Republican-controlled House voted 244-185 to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Sept. 23, 2013, 4:37 p.m.

Frus­trated by their in­ab­il­ity to man­date con­struc­tion of the Key­stone XL pipeline through le­gis­la­tion, con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans are plot­ting yet an­oth­er at­tempt to pres­sure Pres­id­ent Obama to ap­prove a per­mit for the con­tro­ver­sial pro­ject, this time by ty­ing it to the loom­ing debt-ceil­ing vote.

In a meet­ing of the House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence last week, House lead­er­ship also dis­cussed adding oth­er en­ergy riders to debt-ceil­ing le­gis­la­tion pulled from bills that have already passed the House either this year or in the 112th Con­gress, ac­cord­ing to a House GOP aide.

Key­stone XL is now cer­tain to be in­cluded in the bill, the aide said, along with a num­ber of oth­er meas­ures aimed at re­du­cing reg­u­la­tions and eas­ing per­mits for en­ergy pro­du­cers. The meas­ures un­der con­sid­er­a­tion would give Con­gress broad au­thor­ity to weigh in on reg­u­la­tions is­sued by the ex­ec­ut­ive branch, a move GOP law­makers hope would al­low Con­gress to block En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency at­tempts to reg­u­late car­bon emis­sions from new and ex­ist­ing power plants.

Oth­er pro­vi­sions likely to end up in a debt-lim­it bill in­clude titles from le­gis­la­tion to ex­pand off­shore en­ergy pro­duc­tion and oil and nat­ur­al-gas drilling on fed­er­al lands. “House Re­pub­lic­ans are ad­voc­at­ing for pro-growth meas­ures to be in­cluded in any agree­ment to raise the gov­ern­ment’s bor­row­ing au­thor­ity, so adding swift ap­prov­al of the Key­stone XL pipeline is an easy fit,” House Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy, R-Cal­if., said in a state­ment last week.

Mc­Carthy ar­gued that the pipeline, which would carry crude from oil sands in Canada to Gulf Coast re­finer­ies, would “cre­ate tens of thou­sands of jobs, re­duce our spend­ing on over­seas oil, and in­crease Amer­ica’s in­vest­ment and com­pet­it­ive­ness throughout the world.”

On the oth­er side of Cap­it­ol Hill, Re­pub­lic­an Sens. Rand Paul of Ken­tucky, John Ho­even of North Dakota, James In­hofe of Ok­lahoma, and Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Car­o­lina sup­port the House GOP push to link Key­stone ap­prov­al with debt-lim­it le­gis­la­tion. And in an un­usu­al bi­par­tis­an news con­fer­ence last week, two Demo­crats — Sens. Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia and Mark Be­gich of Alaska — joined Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, R-Ky., in call­ing for im­me­di­ate ap­prov­al of the full pipeline by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“We have delayed build­ing the Key­stone XL pipeline for far too long,” Manchin said. “Let’s not waste an­oth­er minute de­bat­ing the ap­prov­al of the Key­stone pipeline and fi­nally be­gin its con­struc­tion.”

The sen­at­ors’ state­ments came on the same day the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee held a hear­ing to mark the five-year an­niversary of the ini­tial per­mit ap­plic­a­tion for the pro­ject. The fil­ing of that ap­plic­a­tion in 2008 by Tran­sCanada began a long jour­ney for the pro­ject that in­cluded a post­pone­ment, then a deni­al, of the per­mit by the pres­id­ent after Re­pub­lic­ans forced a bill through Con­gress re­quir­ing a de­cision with­in three months. Tran­sCanada has since filed a new ap­plic­a­tion, but stud­ies of the en­vir­on­ment­al im­pacts of the pro­ject are still be­ing con­duc­ted by the State De­part­ment, which must ap­prove the per­mit be­cause the pipeline would cross the bor­der.

The GOP-con­trolled House has already passed sev­en bills de­mand­ing ap­prov­al of the pro­ject, but none of them have ad­vanced in the Demo­crat­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
11 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
12 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
1 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login