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GOP embraces showdown over oil pipeline, tax cuts
Obama and congressional Republicans move toward showdown over oil pipeline and tax breaks
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Sensing a political opening, congressional Republicans are moving toward a high-stakes showdown with President Barack Obama over a plan to link fast-tracked approval of an oil pipeline to a measure renewing a payroll tax cut.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas will help the president achieve his top priority ' creating jobs ' without costing a dime of taxpayer money.

McConnell says the only reason Obama and other Democrats oppose the pipeline provision is to gain political advantage by blaming Republicans for defeating the popular tax cut.

Obama wants to postpone a decision on the pipeline until after next year's election. He says the delay is needed to study routes that avoid environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska.

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