The White House today showed new flexibility regarding Republicans plans to tie other issues, like a revival Keystone pipeline, to an extension of the payroll tax holiday, refusing to issue veto threats on a new GOP proposal or even components of it.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today instead dusted off a familiar signal used by all White Houses to suggest they’re open to a deal, refusing to comment by saying he does not want to “negotiate from the podium.”
Carney during today’s White House briefing even seemed to soften Obama’s insistence Wednesday that “any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut I will reject,” refusing repeatedly to say whether “reject” meant “veto.”
In fact, Obama, who spoke Wednesday during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, had said he would “reject” other issues Republicans are tying to the payroll tax:
And so my warning is not just specific to Keystone. Efforts to tie a whole bunch of other issues to something that they should be doing anyway will be rejected by me.
The payroll tax extension Republicans unveiled today includes several measure unpalatable to Democrats, including the revival of the Canada-U.S. Keystone pipeline, which Obama had put on ice, a shortening of the duration of jobless benefits, and changes to Medicare.