Senior Capitol Hill Republicans hope to transform President Obama’s comments that downplay the number of potential Keystone XL pipeline jobs into a political liability as the White House focuses heavily on the economy.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Obama’s comments about the project were “beyond belief.”

“A president disparaging private-sector jobs while backstage at a jobs rally is beyond belief. The president’s own State Department reported that Keystone would support upwards of 40,000 jobs. In this economy, any source of private job creation should be welcomed with open arms,” Upton said in a statement.

“After nearly 5 years and 15,500 pages of review, there is no reason to delay these jobs another day. Republicans, Democrats, leading unions, and job creators all agree, it’s time to start building.”