Tag Archive: Unemployment Insurance

Dec 20 2011

Congressional Game of Chicken: The House Of Unrepresentatives

House Rejects Senate Payroll Tax Deal

by David Dayen

The House of Representatives officially rejected the bipartisan agreement that passed the Senate with 89 votes for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, extended unemployment benefits and a doctor’s fix to prevent a 27% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates. They did so under a complicated scheme whereby members did not vote on the Senate deal itself, but on whether to move to a conference committee on the package, with the rejection of the Senate deal implicit in the exchange. The final roll call was 229-193, with seven Republicans switching sides and voting with Democrats to reject the conference committee. All Democrats present voted against the bill. [..]

The seven Republican no votes: Charlie Bass (NH), Jeff Flake (AZ), Chris Gibson (NY), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Tim Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), Frank Wolf (VA).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t play:

“My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians. “Senator McConnell and I negotiated a compromise at Speaker Boehner’s request. I will not re-open negotiations until the House follows through and passes this agreement that was negotiated by Republican leaders, and supported by 90 percent of the Senate. “This is a question of whether the House of Representatives will be able to fulfill the basic legislative function of passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan agreement, in order to protect the economic security of millions of middle-class Americans. Democratic and Republican leaders negotiated a compromise and Speaker Boehner should not walk away from it, putting middle-class families at risk of a thousand-dollar tax hike just because a few angry Tea Partiers raised their voices to the Speaker. “I have always sought a year-long extension. I have been trying to forge one for weeks, and I am happy to continue negotiating one once we have made sure middle-class families will not wake up to a tax increase on January 1st. So before we re-open negotiations on a year-long extension, the House of Representatives must protect middle-class families by passing the overwhelmingly bipartisan compromise that Republicans negotiated, and was approved by ninety percent of the Senate.”

A couple of point where I disagree with Barney Frank is that we are doing better than Europe and that the economy is doing better. Maybe for the 1% it is but the middle class is shriveling. The important part of this bill was an extension of the UI which is about expire.

Dec 19 2011

Kicking Americans In The Can

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.