The president sent a clear warning to the Republicans in Congress today not to tie any “extraneous issues” to the extension of the payroll-tax cut or unemployment insurance when it comes up for a vote.
During an appearance with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, President Obama said that if the House Republicans tried to accelerate the Keystone XL Pipeline project by inserting it into a bill to extend the payroll-tax cut he would “reject it.”
Speaker John Boehner's office responded quickly to the threat. “We are working on a bill to stop a tax hike, protect Social Security, reform unemployment insurance, and create jobs," the speaker's office said in a statement. "If President Obama threatens to veto it over a provision that creates American jobs, that’s a fight we’re ready to have.”
The president and the prime minister met today and discussed several issues, including the pipeline. Final approval of the project was postponed by the State Department last month. Some Republicans have alleged the administration is playing politics with the sensitive issue, but the president said the State Department is making sure the pipelines impact on health and the environment is “properly understood.”
Obama said he expects Congress to have “enough sense” to do the “people’s business” and not play politics with the payroll-tax cut extension.