(NBC News) — A senior Democratic congressman likened Republican lawmakers to terrorists on Thursday for their insistence on tying approval of construction of a new oil pipeline to must-pass legislation.
California Rep. Henry Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the coauthor of the 2009 cap-and-trade climate change bill, decried efforts by the GOP to force the Obama administration into approving a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“They want to use legislation as a way to act like terrorists. They hold things as hostage,” Waxman said. “We almost couldn’t fund the government because Republicans wanted to hold that idea hostage, we almost couldn’t pay our debts because the Republicans wanted to hold that legislation hostage to their extreme agenda, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they scuttled this conference by trying to hold us hostage.”
Waxman was referring specifically to rumblings from Republicans that they might attach the provision to legislation extending a payroll tax cut through the end of 2012. Waxman is one of the 20 bipartisan negotiators who are working to reach an agreement on that extension by Feb. 29, when the current extension is set to expire.