Congressional Republicans are mulling reviving the nixed Keystone XL oil pipeline by marrying it to an extension of the payroll tax cut.
The controversial $7 billion project was shelved by the Obama Administration on Wednesday, claiming the U.S. State Department did not have enough time to review TransCanada's application. Congress imposed a 60-day window for approval, which was shelved but the door was left open for new requests.
House Republicans are planning on reviving the plan in upcoming talks over the payroll tax cuts, according to Reuters, hoping the pin the president in choosing between to shelve the tax cut altogether in order to kill the pipeline.
Congress has until Feb. 29 to extend the current 4.2 percent payroll tax rate, a 2 percent reduction from the norm. Republicans reportedly believe the pipeline could be the linchpin of their electoral hopes in 2012, touting it as a major job-creating program obstructed by the president.
We are committed to keeping it on the front-burner, said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., according to Reuters.
The House GOP is considering several options in keeping the pipeline alive, including a measure to take oversight and approval authority away from Obama and put it in the hand of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The Obama administration said more time was needed to be sure the chosen route, which has the pipeline stretch in a relatively vertical line from Canada to Texas, was the best one. Republicans counter the president is pushing the project back until after the November election, in an effort to avoid alienating certain chunks of the electorate.