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GOP presses Obama to approve ‘no-brainer’ Keystone XL pipeline

Republicans are stepping up pressure on the Obama administration to approve work on the long-delayed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) called on the White House to help lower the nation's energy costs, create a total of about 140,000 jobs and provide a boost to the economy by moving forward on the pipeline.

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“Keystone is primed to give our economy a shot in the arm and make energy more affordable, and it won’t cost the taxpayers a dime," Terry said Saturday in the weekly Republican address.

Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the case that House Republicans pushed the Democratic-controlled Senate to approve a pro-Keystone amendment to a nonbinding budget resolution.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is a no-brainer," Terry said.

He argued that the pipeline has "passed muster through several environmental reviews" and it has "picked up support from a broad, grassroots coalition of unions and employers."

In addition, he said, 70 percent of the public supports the project, according to polling.

TransCanada’s proposed pipeline is under Obama administration review, with the project splitting Democrats.

The president is under pressure from the oil industry and many labor unions to support the project, but environmental groups are vehemently opposed to the pipeline.

Those divisions were highlighted when the Senate last week when the projects supporters earned a symbolic victory when 17 Democrats voted with Republicans to back Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-N.D.) amendment in support of the project.

In meetings with House and Senate Republicans earlier this month, Obama was pressed on the timeline for the review but declined to provide a deadline. GOP senators say Obama told them a decision would be made in months, but didn't provide anything specific.

In his address, Terry criticized the White House for continuing to block the pipeline "using every bureaucratic trick and excuse in the book."

"It’s now been more than 1,600 days since the initial permits were filed for building the pipeline," he said.

“The people and the Congress have spoken. The experts have weighed in. Now it’s the time to build the Keystone pipeline. No more delays, no more politics,” Terry added. “If the president continues to drag his feet, Congress is prepared to act."

Ben Geman contributed.