Bluff called: House defies Obama veto threat, passes payroll cut extension with Keystone pipeline provision

234-193, a mostly but not entirely party-line vote. The payroll tax is going to be extended, rest assured, but right now we’re still in the kabuki phase where each side tries to maneuver the other into a difficult/embarrassing negotiating position to help with its campaign messaging later. Last week it was Obama’s turn to claim that the GOP hates the middle class or whatever because it wouldn’t agree to a payroll-tax extension coupled with a new surtax on millionaires. Today it’s the GOP’s turn to claim that Obama hates jobs because he won’t agree to a payroll-tax extension coupled with a provision that would speed up approval of the Keystone oil pipeline. Which, of course, is a dastardly lie: The One doesn’t hate jobs, he simply hates anything that might get in the way of his reelection. And if that means taking a pass on creating thousands of new positions in the energy industry in order to appease environmentalists, then hey.

“The American people want jobs,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “This is as close to a shovel-ready project as you’re ever going to see. This is exactly the description of the kind of jobs plans that the president says he wants to enact.”

The House approved the bill, 234-193, Tuesday night. Ten Democrats joined 224 Republicans in backing the bill…

The Obama administration said last month it was postponing a decision on the pipeline until after next year’s election. Officials said the delay is needed to study routes that avoid environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska…

Democrats said the pipeline provision did not belong in the bill. Among other provisions, the bill would extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.

“To hold the American people that are suffering hostage is just plain wrong,” said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

Obama threatened to veto this thing if it reaches his desk, but Senate Democrats will almost certainly make sure that doesn’t happen. Still, a useful talking point for Newt or Mitt (or Ron?) next year: So deep in the tank is O for the green lobby that not only will he turn down a new job-creating energy project, he’ll actually sacrifice a tax-cut extension for the middle class to do so.

Kudos to CNN, by the way, for this spintastic piece wondering just how many jobs the Keystone pipeline would create. Would it really be in excess of 100,000, or just a few thousand here and there? I didn’t realize Recovery Winter had already succeeded so wildly that we can afford to turn down projects because they don’t create enough jobs. The things you miss while you’re on vacation.