Dec 19 2011

Kicking Americans In The Can

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

No holiday vacation for you, Mr. President.

Boehner Says House G.O.P. Opposes Deal on Payroll Tax

Speaker John A. Boehner, who had urged his members on Saturday to support the legislation, did what appeared to be an about-face on Sunday when he said that he and other House Republicans were opposed to the temporary extension, part of a $33 billion package of bills that the Senate easily passed Saturday. In addition to extending the payroll tax cut for millions of American workers, the legislation extended unemployment benefits and avoided cuts in payments to doctors who accept Medicare. The measure would be effective through February.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” , Mr. Boehner said the two-month extension would be “just kicking the can down the road.”

“It’s time to just stop, do our work, resolve the differences and extend this for one year,” Mr. Boehner said. “How can you have tax policy for two months?”

He said that Republicans wanted to extend the payroll cut for a year, but that it would have to be financed with cuts in the existing budget. When Congressional aides announced the deal on Friday, they said the items it contained were fully paid for.

If you can stand to watch the Orange Man, from Meet the Press (I’ll spare you the entire 15 minutes):

   Boehner: Well, it’s pretty clear that I, and our members, oppose the senate bill. … How can you do tax policy for two months? So, we really do believe it’s time for the Senate to work with the House, to complete our business for the year. We’ve got two weeks to get this done. let’s do it the right way.

   Gregory: So your suggesting start over, make this a one year extension. Should the Senate start from scratch?

   Boehner: No, what I’m suggesting is this. The House has passed its bill, the Senate has passed its bill. Under the Constitution, when we have these disagreements, there could be a formal conference between both chambers to resolve the differences.

Speaker Boehner is reneging on a bipartisan deal the was negotiated with the Senate and passed with a large majority of 89 votes that included 39 Republicans. The Senate has adjourned until after the holidays, so the likelihood of a conference committee at this point is not happening.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he won’t call the Senate back to negotiate on Mr. Boehner’s demand to negotiate an extended payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and a doctor’s fix on Medicare reimbursement rates until after the House passes the two month stop gap bill. David Dayen at FDL has this statement from Reid’s office::

Senator Reid has been trying to negotiate a yearlong extension of the payroll tax credit with Republicans for weeks. He is happy to continue negotiating a yearlong extension as soon as the House passes the Senate’s short-term, bipartisan compromise to make sure middle class families will not be hit by a thousand-dollar tax hike on January 1.

It’s not like this bill was negotiated in a vacuum, Mr. Boehner was part of the discussion with both Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and he had asked for a compromise:

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said that Mr. Boehner had asked him and the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, to work out a compromise on the tax cut and that it had been agreed to by both political parties.

“Neither side got everything they wanted, but we forged a middle ground that passed the Senate by an overwhelming bipartisan majority,” Mr. Reid said in a statement. “If Speaker Boehner refuses to vote on the bipartisan compromise that passed the Senate with 89 votes, Republicans will be forcing a thousand-dollar tax increase on middle-class families on Jan. 1.”

If the House leadership thinks that this tactic is going to help the GOP chances of holding the House and taking back the Senate and White House from the Democrats, I have a couple bridges I’d like to sell him.


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