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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u May 11, 2012 1:04 AM Flag

    Keystone backers want bill more than pipeline

    But Upton and other House Republicans didn’t appear to hold the Democrats’ feet to the fire at the meeting and did not explicitly demand that the pipeline language be included.

    The meeting “set a good tone for the conference,” a House GOP aide said of the overall talks. “If both sides had come in and started to argue over scope, or if the Senate had harassed the House over H.R. 7 or the House had read the Senate a laundry list of concerns with [the transportation bill], the conference would have started with tension and negativity.”

    Instead, the aide said, “we saw members express commitment to their principles and set out their priorities but with a recognition that it was important to get something done and that getting a conference report was achievable.”

    And the political heat on conference members like Baucus and Rahall may not be as strong anymore given the support major unions are giving President Barack Obama, even if they are peeved at his rejection of the pipeline project.

    Just as the desire to get an overall transportation bill legislatively trumps congressional authorization of Keystone XL, pipeline-backing unions that had once threatened to keep boots off the ground for Obama are now rallying hard to keep Mitt Romney out of the White House thanks to the Republican’s views on Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements and other top union issues.

    “There’s a clear choice. And it’s not Romney,” Houser said. “We’ll be out there, fighting like we have been in the past.”

    In any case, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said trying to predict the Keystone outcome through vote-counting is a fruitless quest.

    “This will be decided at the leadership level, not by individual votes in the conference. It’s something Reid and Boehner have to work out,” DeFazio said.

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