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Keystone XL oil pipeline ensnared in political gamesmanship

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GOP congressional leaders, of course, slammed the decision. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the move “shows a fundamental disconnect with job creation in this country.” House Speaker John Boehner said: “This is not the end of the fight.”

Republicans could yet try to revive the oil pipeline, perhaps by attaching it to upcoming legislation. Congress must soon take up the payroll tax cut, again, and needs to address a looming 27 percent cut in fees to physicians who treat Medicare patients, as well as whether to continue to extend federal jobless benefits.  

A conference committee set up to resolve an impasse over extending the payroll tax cuts through fiscal 2012 has set its first formal meeting for next Tuesday afternoon, upon the Senate's return. Senate Finance chairman Max Baucus (D) of Montana and House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp (R) of Michigan, the lead negotiators, have begun informal discussions.

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