In my piece today, I talked with Republicans to work out a few issues and sidebars with the payroll holiday fight. One question, to Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.: Why include the Keystone XL pipeline and the boiler rule delay in a tax break/unimployment insurance bill? The answer:
“Part of our argument of including it in the broad package,” he said, “is—look, we're looking at extending unemployment benefits. But frankly, people would rather have a job than get unemployment benefits. The Keystone plan, which has been sitting on the desk for three years—20,000 shovel-ready jobs, $7 billion private investment project—it's ready to go. The boiler rule impacts 200,000 boilers, about that many jobs as well. Ready to go. It's had bipartisan support, and we know it has bipartisan support in the Senate.”
There you are, answered. In the Pledge to America, Republicans promised not to attach pet projects to must-pass bills. "No more troop funding bills held up by unrelated policy changes," they wrote, "or extraneous domestic spending and pork barrel projects." This might feel like an emergency bill, but they're just not approaching that way. Nope -- it's a way to get more concessions.