By Ben Geman - 03/12/13 01:57 AM EDT
Ryan’s inclusion of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline – which would bring oil from Canadian oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries – is a largely symbolic gesture.
His plan is a statement of GOP priorities that will inform negotiations with Democrats and the White House on fiscal policy.
But it underscores how Keystone is central to GOP messaging and policy goals.
Backers of the pipeline call it a way to create jobs and boost energy ties with Canada, a friendly neighbor that’s already the top foreign supplier of oil to the U.S.
The northern portion of the proposed pipeline that would cross into the U.S. remains under federal review, and environmentalists bitterly oppose the project.
The State Department is leading the Obama administration review of whether to grant a cross-border permit for TransCanada Corp.’s project, but the final call is expected to come from the White House.