David Hawkings, CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing
As members of Congress draw closer to a holiday break, it's looking less likely they'll be able to leave Washington on time. Despite several proposals to extend a payroll tax break past the end of the year, there's been no bi-partisan deal. Meanwhile, a Republican block of President Obama's nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is opening the possibility of some jockeying over a possible recess appointment. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks about the issues. Following are highlights of his analysis.
Hawkings on the negotiations to extend the payroll tax break over the proposed pipeline to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast: "The sticking point there is whether to allow the pipeline to go forward or not. This is a pipeline that would cross some very environmentally sensitive parts of the sand hills of Nebraska. And it's become a big issue for environmentalists. They think it's a bad risk to build this pipeline across there. But it would create tens of thousands of jobs in the next few years. And the Republicans see it as a genuine job creator."
On how serious of an impasse this is: "It seems relatively serious. The President has used the word "reject." He said he would reject a bill that includes language to speed along the keystone pipeline. He didn't use the word "veto." And I think the Republicans heard that, and they're going to sort of call his bluff on this and press ahead."
On the chances of a recess appointment for a new head of Consumer Protection Financial Bureau: "Probably what will happen is that some poor senator - probably the senators that represents our area, Sens. Warner, Webb, Mikulski, and Cardin - will be encouraged to stick around between when Congress actually turns out the lights for Christmas, and when they return in the middle of January... The Republicans would insist Congress stay in session, so the recess appointment would not have to be made."
Listen to the full interview.