Pipeline and Payroll Tax

By Beacon Staff

We have previously reported on the bipartisan support Montana’s politicians have expressed for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would run from Alberta through Eastern Montana and four other states en route to a refinery in Texas. Now, Congressman Denny Rehberg and Sen. Jon Tester, who square off next year in the race for Tester’s Senate seat, have doubled-down on that support.

Rehberg recently sponsored a bill that would require Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to issue a permit within 60 days to allow the pipeline to move forward. Language from that legislation has now been attached to a larger bill the GOP is pushing to extend the payroll tax cut. Democrats have said they oppose the pipeline provision. From Rehberg:

“This decision should be made in the interest of thousands of Americans who need jobs, not the political convenience of President Obama and his special interest friends. Over three years, this process has run its course. It’s time to make a decision. I hope the President will do the right thing and stand up for the creation of American jobs.”

Meanwhile, Tester took to the Senate floor on Tuesday, promoting both his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act and the Keystone XL Pipeline. And he criticized President Barack Obama for delaying a decision on the project until 2013. From Tester’s speech:

“I do not believe we should have to wait until January of 2013 for a decision that can create American jobs right now. In Montana, we need the jobs. We need the ability to provide incentives to boost production in places where it makes the most sense—like the Bakken Formation in eastern Montana.”

However, Tester did say he opposed including Keystone XL Pipeline language in the payroll tax cut legislation. “We do not need to tangle this issue up with the payroll tax,” he said.

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