This March 22, 2012 file photo shows President Barack Obama arriving at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla. Debate continues over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta to refineries in the Houston area. / Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
WASHINGTON â?? Some proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are eyeing a mid-October deadline for raising the nation's debt ceiling as a tool to win approval for the long-delayed project.
House Republicans plan to make a debt-ceiling hike contingent on a list of party priorities that include delayed implementation of the 2010 health care law, an overhaul of the tax code and a broad rollback of environmental regulations. One item on the list is language requiring the administration to approve the 1,700-mile pipeline.
"We feel like this is our only option," Republican Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska told the New York Times this week.
Republican Rep. Steve Daines of Montana also was considering the plan.
"We will be taking time in the coming days to review the House proposal and are open to including provisions to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in this package," said his spokeswoman, Alee Lockman. "Steve is committed to doing what he can to get this job-creating project approved."
House Republicans remained uncertain Friday about when they would vote on legislation to raise the nation's borrowing authority. A vote could come Saturday, Sunday or next week.
President Barack Obama has said he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling. He and most Democrats, including Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, are calling for a "clean" debt-ceiling bill free of other provisions.
"No one is a bigger supporter of the Keystone Pipeline than Max, and Max will be the first one to support effective legislation that actually gets the pipeline built," Baucus spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue said. "But playing politics with America's ability to pay our bills by bringing outside issues into the debt ceiling debate will hurt Montana jobs without getting us any closer to building the Keystone pipeline."
Tester, through a spokeswoman, agreed.
"Jon continues to support the Keystone Pipeline but believes a vote to raise the debt ceiling should be a clean vote focused on protecting our credit rating," spokeswoman Andrea Helling said. "He would not support efforts to add any additional measures to the bill."
The pipeline, in the works for more than five years, is a flashpoint for environmentalists. They say transporting such large amounts of oil across the country puts many areas at risk.
Supporters counter that the $5.3 billion project would create 42,000 jobs across the country and generate much-needed tax revenue in several states.
The pipeline would move thousands of barrels of crude each day from Canada to the Gulf Coast for refining. Oil also would be transported from the Bakken region in Montana and North Dakota.
Oil produced in these regions now is transported across the U.S. by trucks and rail.
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Read the original story: Debt-ceiling measure puts Keystone supporters at odds