Tomorrow the Obama Administration will announce its approval of the Keystone pipeline.
The two main reasons for the delay in approval for the pipeline were election 2012 concerns and legislative bargaining. With the Presidential election over delay has much less political value. Second and perhaps most importantly the White House like any other administration has held a few negotiating objects for exchange. Obviously with fiscal policy matters driving much of the division in DC there have been a number of stand off scenarios and the chip would likely come into play. This also may in part explain how the House and Senate were able to more quickly consider the debt ceiling,
Kerry’s recent robust statements on Climate Change could actually be a response to the word of approval working through the administration.
Also for optics the President can’t announce this behind Democrats (who wont show) and Republicans which would anger Democrats and have the appearance of a quid pro quo. He will be meeting with Harper tomorrow where the story can be instead about great US Canada relations. Also holding on to this chip for too long actually loses its bargaining influence because of the likelihood of his successor approving it.
I have held this KXL theory for some time and it seems to be in line with others:
During the debt ceiling negotiations Republican Leadership were hinting at a deal like this in Sunday talk shows. By not demanding spending offsets they were implying they would be open to policy proposals like this.
Predictions obviously run the risk of being wrong and the author having egg on his face, but my certainty is well above 50%.