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Republicans will try to reverse Keystone decision in next payroll tax cut deal

BALTIMORE — Republicans will try to include a provision aimed at reversing the presidents dismissal of the Keystone XL pipeline into a deal on extending the payroll tax cut.

We’re going to be looking at every option to keep this issue at the forefront, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told reporters Friday at the House Republican retreat in Charm City.

{mosads}Upton, a member of the conference committee that will negotiate on extending the payroll tax cut, indicated that he and fellow conferee Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will push to get a Keystone provision into the final deal.

I’ve got to believe that at least two of us will be pushing for that moving forward,” Upton said as Walden nodded in agreement.

It will likely further complicate negotiations on the committee, which is also dealing with extending unemployment benefits and working on Medicare physician reimbursements. The committee meets for the first time Tuesday.

It was Republican provisions in December’s temporary extension of the payroll tax cut that required a decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21 — a deadline President Obama said left too little time for a review, forcing him to reject the pipeline.

Since Wednesday’s announcement, Republicans have mulled legislative options to bypass the president.

And Friday they vowed to keep the Keystone pipeline in the headlines this year.

Much of the buzz at the annual GOP retreat has centered on Obama’s rejection of the transcontinental oil pipeline. Republicans contend that building the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) has legislation that would give the power to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to green-light construction of the pipeline, removing that authority from the State Department.

His measure could be incorporated into House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) transportation and infrastructure bill that is in the works.

Upton also announced that his full committee will hear from the State Department on the Keystone decision at a hearing next week.

“We are absolutely committed as a Republican team to keep the Keystone pipeline on the front burner,” he said.

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