McConnell: Keystone is ‘shovel ready,’ pushes for linking payroll tax, pipeline

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continued Sunday to press for legislation that links extending a payroll tax break with the Keystone Pipeline project.



McConnell predicted Congress will pass legislation this month that extends the payroll tax holiday and extends jobless benefits — but he offered few clues about the path to gaining consensus on a final package.



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During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” McConnell made clear he wants that package linked to a measure that would force the administration to fast-track a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project.



“We’d … like to create some jobs” via the project, which needs the president’s approval, McConnell said, contending it would create “20,000 jobs.”



“It’s shovel ready” and would not cost the government “one penny,” he added.



The minority leader predicted a payroll tax cut-Keystone package would win the support of many Senate Democrats and big labor. President Obama has said he would “reject” any payroll tax cut extension measure that is linked to the pipeline project. 



“I’m on the same side as Jimmy Hoffa,” McConnell said, referring to the president of the powerful Teamsters Union. “The Teamsters want this.”

This post was updated at 10:44 a.m.