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Obama warns GOP lawmakers not to tie controversial pipeline plan to payroll tax cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) ' President Barack Obama warned congressional Republicans that he would reject any effort to tie extraneous issues to an extension of the payroll tax cut, including the approval of an oil pipeline between the U.S. and Canada.
"If the payroll tax cut is attached to a whole bunch of extraneous issues not related to making sure that Americans' taxes don't go up on Jan. 1, it's not something I would accept," said Obama, speaking alongside Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders have pushed for Obama to approve the pipeline project, saying it would create much-needed jobs in the U.S. And they've suggested adding a provision to a payroll tax cut bill that would be designed to speed construction of the pipeline.
The payroll tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year.
The Obama administration has decided to delay a decision on whether to proceed with the pipeline until 2013, after the presidential election. The move was poorly received in Canada, which views the project as critical to its economy. Labor groups in the U.S., as well as Republican lawmakers, also want the pipeline.
The White House has denied that politics caused the project's delay, saying further review is needed in order to balance job creation and energy security with public health and the safety of communities along the pipeline.
During a joint appearance with Harper, Obama said it's important that all the issues "are properly understood."