Pro-Keystone Senate Democrats push House to approve payroll-tax bill

Five centrist Senate Democrats are adding to pressure on House Republicans to approve the short-term payroll tax cut extension that includes provisions to expedite a federal decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

"Delays or changes to the bill may jeopardize the important shared goal of moving the project forward," states a letter Monday to House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker GOP senator says he 'regularly' considers leaving Republican Party Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers MORE (R-Ohio) from Sens. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusOvernight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor Judge boots Green Party from Montana ballot in boost to Tester MORE (D-Mont.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCBS Poll: Missouri, Montana Senate races in dead heats Dems play waiting game with Collins and Murkowski Watchdog groups to file complaint against Montana candidate alleging coordination with NRA MORE (D-Mont.), Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLobbying world Former New Orleans mayor: It's not my 'intention' to run for president Dems grasp for way to stop Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE (D-La.), Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Mark BegichMark Peter BegichElection Countdown: Trump plans ambitious travel schedule for midterms | Republicans blast strategy for keeping House | Poll shows Menendez race tightening | Cook Report shifts Duncan Hunter's seat after indictment The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s legal jeopardy mounts after Manafort, Cohen felony counts Dunleavy, Begich win party nods in 3-way race for Alaska governor MORE (D-Alaska).

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House Republicans strongly back TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands (as well as some oil from U.S. projects) to Gulf Coast refineries. But House GOP leaders are nonetheless BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker GOP senator says he 'regularly' considers leaving Republican Party Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers MORE-predicts-house-will-reject-senates-payroll-tax-extension" href="http://thehill.com/homenews/house/200239-boehner-predicts-house-will-reject-senates-payroll-tax-extension">balking at the two-month payroll tax cut extension package the Senate overwhelmingly approved Saturday.

That's setting up a collision with Senate Democrats who are resisting calls for negotiations between the chambers unless the House passes the short-term package first.

The Hill online will continue its complete coverage of the high-stakes payroll tax battle Read Monday’s letter from the five Senate Democrats below:

Dear Mr. Speaker:
 
On Saturday, December 17, the Senate passed the bipartisan Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011, the Reid-McConnell substitute amendment to H.R. 3630. The bipartisan bill, which passed with 89 votes, will move the Keystone XL pipeline forward. The Keystone XL project is critical to the nation’s energy security--it will reduce our dependence on oil from hostile regimes--and it will put thousands of Americans back to work.
 
This important bill will require the President to make a decision on the pipeline’s future within 60 days. It will also protect private property rights and establish a procedure for re-routing the pipeline around sensitive land within the state of Nebraska. Delays or changes to the bill may jeopardize the important shared goal of moving the project forward.
 
In the interest of America's energy security and economic recovery, we urge the House of Representatives to take up this bill and pass it as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.