NPR : News

Filed Under:

Keystone Pipeline's Connection To Payroll Taxes? It's Up For Debate

The Keystone XL pipeline is supposed to connect Canada to Texas. But does it also have to connect to a payroll tax holiday?

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, speaking today on NPR's Tell Me More, said no link should be made because the oil pipeline is not "germane" to legislation involving a tax holiday.

Republicans had made it a sticking point in December when they tied the controversial pipeline to legislation extending a 2 percentage point payroll tax break through the end of 2012. They approved the tax holiday, but only for two months — and with language forcing the White House to make a quick decision on the pipeline.

President Obama responded by halting the project that environmentalists hate.

Jarrett said the Republicans' action made no sense. "What did the pipeline have to do with extending the payroll tax in the first place?" She said help for taxpayers should not be weighed down "with other pieces of legislation that aren't germane."

But also in Washington, D.C., this morning, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican, was speaking at an event sponsored by The National Journal. Barrasso, who insisted on including the pipeline language in the payroll-tax legislation, said Keystone and the tax-break extension are bound together by the common thread of economic growth.

Obama wants to help the economy by boosting workers' take-home pay, and Republicans want to help the economy by increasing energy-related jobs, he said. But Tuesday night's State of the Union address offered no hope that Obama would changing his mind, Barrasso said.

The president's address was "a re-tread" that only repeated the past, Barrasso said. "It was a groundhog-day speech."

(Marilyn Geewax is a senior business editor on NPR's National Desk.)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Michael Herr, Whose Vietnam War Reporting Became Iconic, Dies At 76

Herr's book Dispatches redefined the genre of war reporting. "I was there to watch," he wrote. "I went to cover the war and the war covered me; an old story, unless of course you've never heard it."
NPR

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger Persuade China To Eat Less Meat?

Like the U.S., China is battling obesity and climate change. So it's urging citizens to eat less meat — and spreading the word with public service ads featuring Hollywood stars.
NPR

U.K.'s 'History-Changing' EU Vote Reflects Deep Distrust, Concern

After more than 40 years in the political and economic bloc, Britain voted to withdraw from the EU. English novelist Robert Harris and the BBC's Jonny Dymond talk to Rachel Martin and David Greene.
NPR

Shock, Rage And Gallows Humor: A Brexit Backlash On Social Media

Young voters had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union. Now there's a flood of anger from those who accuse older generations of choosing a future they don't want.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.