Congress approves bill mandating Keystone decision

Approval of tax-break legislation forces Obama to act on pipeline permit

Republican House Speaker John Boehner bowed to pressure from within his own party on Friday and agreed to a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move breaks a week-long impasse, and averts a payroll tax increase that would have reduced workers’ take-home pay in 2012. The deal includes provisions for extending employment insurance and avoids pay cuts for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Importantly for Canada, the deal also forces President Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline expansion within 60 days. Obama’s approval of the project is far from certain. The president has the option to declare that the pipeline, which faces stiff opposition from environmentalists and other opponents, does not serve the national interest.

Wall Street JournalReuters

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