President Obama will quietly sign a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress to avert a government shutdown. No one wanted to Scrooge Christmas with a conflict over a mere trillion dollars spending. But getting the spending bill passed did allow the Republicans to attach a few riders that put coal in the President’s Christmas stocking including:
- Blocking enforcement of federal light bulb efficiency standards
- Prohibiting the White House from hiring additional climate change staff
- Blocking US EPA livestock operations and manure management systems emissions regulations
- Transferring EPA’s air quality permitting authority to the Department of the Interior.
But there will still be fireworks over the price the President must pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut. A deal in the Senate between Leaders McConnell and Reid is in trouble in the House at this writing because House Republican freshman again told their leaders to forget it.
“Two months, really? Come on!”
So the House is expected to pass a year-long extension of both the payroll tax cut and emergency federal unemployment benefits to solve the matter rather than just pushing the fight into the new year. This is what the President said he wanted but the question is what he will be forced to pay for the extension. House Republicans are also want a two-year “doc fix,” or delays in pay cuts to Medicare physicians. All three measures are currently set to expire December 31.
And then there is still the matter of the Keystone XL pipeline approval. The Senate bill required the President to decide the matter within 60 days instead of deferring it past the election, but House Republicans now fear the President will just reject the deal to spite them calculating that even if it irritates his labor supporters they have nowhere else to go and won’t likely work against him. But approving the pipeline now would enrage the President’s environmental constituency. While they too have nowhere else to go they will make the President’s life miserable between now and the election.
I bet the President wishes now he would have told Hilary to sign off on the Keystone Pipeline deal and let her take the heat for the decision while he took credit for the 20,000 new jobs.
- Keystone Pipeline Doomed? Why the GOP’s Insistance on Including it in the Payroll Tax Cut Bill May Be a Good Thing (alternet.org)
- President Obama and the Keystone Pipeline | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- House Passes Keystone XL Pipeline Provision (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Senate Democrats Supporting GOP Keystone XL Pipeline Strategy, Obama’s Hand Forced (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Expedited decision could kill Keystone XL project (vancouversun.com)
- Expedited decision could kill Keystone XL project (calgaryherald.com)
- U.S. Senate approves short-term extension of payroll tax holiday, mandates Keystone Pipeline decision (newsok.com)
- Boehner Blasts Obama On Keystone XL (huffingtonpost.com)