Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced that it would be delaying its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, drawing criticism from some pipeline proponents. In negotiating the FY2012 spending bill, the House and Senate have included language that would require the Administration to decide on the pipeline within 60 days.

Republican lawmakers have made the Keystone XL pipeline issue a centerpiece of the spending negotiations. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) described his party’s spending-debate concessions on this issue as “giving the sleeves off a vest” because the State Department has said that they will withhold approval if forced to fast-track a decision.