'Putting all your eggs' in Keystone pipeline 'isn't a jobs plan,' Obama says

President Obama threw jabs at Keystone XL oil sands pipeline supporters on Tuesday, ratcheting up the volume in the clash with Republicans over the project.

Obama doubled down on recent comments that the Canada-to-Texas pipeline wouldn't be the jobs booster that its champions claim.

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“Putting all your eggs in the basket of an oil pipeline that may only create about 50 permanent jobs, and wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal ObamaCare isn’t a jobs plan,” Obama told attendees at Amazon.com’s Chattanooga, Tenn., distribution facility.

The comments were part of a speech laying out Obama's economic plan in which president said he was "willing to work with Republicans" on various tax code and economic issues.

While Obama attempted to strike a conciliatory tone for much of the speech, the Keystone statement was a counterpunch to recent attacks from GOP lawmakers and industry regarding the pipeline, which is currently under review at the State Department.

They also came under scathing criticism from Republicans and industry groups. 

“The president famously pledged to 'do whatever it takes' to create jobs – but this is a new low. Attacking new job opportunities is not a jobs plan," House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said in a statement. 

Karen Harbert, president and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, commented that, "the president continues to ignore his own administration’s analysis and dismiss the value of thousands of American jobs for those that badly need them." 

"Delay, deny, and duck is not a jobs plan," she added.

Republicans, business groups and unions blasted Obama on Monday for suggesting to The New York Times that Keystone would bring 2,000 construction jobs and between 50 and 100 permanent posts.

They said that low-balled the State Department’s draft review of the project, which projected the pipeline would lead to 42,100 average annual direct and indirect jobs during the one- or two-year building phase.

Of that total, construction workers would account for 3,900 of the new jobs, the draft review said. It also said Keystone would provide 35 permanent positions.

Keystone's backers portrayed Obama’s comments about the pipeline as a dismissal of the jobs it promised as the president embarked on a push to tout his economic agenda.

State said Monday that green-lighting Keystone would have a “negligible” impact on the jobs situation, making Obama’s assessment consistent with Foggy Bottom’s initial findings.

On the jobs front, Obama said Tuesday that investments in natural gas, alternative fuels and renewable energy were the answer to the nation's economic problems. He slammed the idea of cutting renewable energy funding, as the House has proposed doing.

“Now is the time to double down on renewables, and biofuels, and electric vehicles, and the research that will shift our cars and trucks off oil for good,” Obama said.

This story was last updated at 11:14 a.m. on July 31.