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House Republicans Pass Payroll Tax Cut & Unemployment Extension President Obama Wanted

By Doug Powers  •  December 13, 2011 08:16 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Hey, that was easy. The Republican-controlled House passed a bill that has in it exactly what President Obama asked for. Well, except for one little item:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation sought by President Barack Obama to extend Social Security payroll tax cuts through 2012. But the bill also includes a requirement for construction of an oil pipeline that has drawn a veto threat.

The vote was 234-193.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where top Democrats strongly oppose the pipeline provision.

The legislation would also renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. And it would head off a threatened 27 percent cut in fees to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

President Obama has threatened a veto of any bill with the Keystone XL in it so as to not lose the coveted Daryl Hannah endorsement.

The pipeline would create between 6,000 and 20,000 US jobs, depending on whose estimate you use. Obama claimed that the payroll tax break and unemployment extension would create more jobs than the pipeline (pause for laughter).

The bill will have trouble getting through a Dem-controlled Senate that claims to need more time for careful analysis:

Reid and other Democrats argue the pipeline project requires more study and should not be fast-tracked as part of a political calculation by Republicans.

An oil pipeline should be studied meticulously over the course of years before being built, but more trivial bills like ones that take control of the entire country’s health care system qualify for fast-tracking and hasty implementation? That sounds about right.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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