By a vote of 234 to 193 the U.S. House on Tuesday passed a payroll tax cut extension favored by House Republicans. The "extenders" package includes a provision that would fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline project. Earlier, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, defended inclusion of the pipeline proposal, saying that if the American people want jobs, this is as close to a shovel-ready plan as you're going to see.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the bill cannot pass his chamber, setting the stage for a battle that could stretch into the weekend. President Barack Obama has threatened to reject a package that comes to his desk with "extraneous" provisions, such as the Keystone XL pipeline proposal.
During a conference call with reporter Wednesday Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talked about provisions of the payroll tax cut extension that was passed by the House.
"I'm certainly supportive of the Keystone pipeline," Blunt said. "I believe that more American energy equals more American jobs; in fact it is the shortest path to more American jobs."
Blunt is a co-sponsor of the North American Energy Security Act, which authorizes the Keystone energy project. He says he had conversations with the White House Wednesday morning about the importance to the economy of finding a way to make the project happen.
An issue that Blunt talked to reporters about is the dysfunction of Congress and the inability to accomplish anything despite numerous votes.
"The House of Representatives is the only place that's passed a bill that would actually extend the payroll tax," Blunt said. "We've had four votes in the Senate that didn't produce anything except everyone was able to go home and say we know what the show vote of the week was. They passed a bill so they have some standing in this debate that Harry Reid or Roy Blunt or anybody in the Senate because they passed a bill, so let's deal with the bill they passed."
Blunt spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon about the subject. View the video in the embedded video player on this page.