House kills payroll-tax bill, sets up showdown with Senate

posted at 1:25 pm on December 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I guess it wouldn’t be Christmas without some brinksmanship all the way to New Year’s Eve.  Last year that brinksmanship involved the extension of Bush-era tax rates and unemployment benefits.  This year, thanks to a very curious reversal, it will be the payroll-tax holiday — or more precisely, its length:

The House voted Tuesday to disagree with the Senate-passed payroll tax bill, and to call for a House-Senate conference to sort out differences between the bills.

The move is intended to put pressure on Senate Democrats to reconvene and meet with the House over the bill, even as Democrats say the Senate is done for the year.

As predicted by Republican leaders on Sunday, the motion to disagree with the Senate was approved with the support of nearly every Republican. The motion was passed 229-193, and only 7 Republicans voting against it.

And why did House Republicans block the Senate bill?  Not to oppose the extension of the tax holiday, which would make some sense.  The cut in revenue to the Social Security fund expands the already-significant deficit between revenues and benefit payments in SSA, which means that more money has to come out of the general fund to cover the gap — and that means more deficit spending.  That might make sense if the cut produced a burst of economic growth, but just like the Making Work Pay tax cut in Obama’s stimulus package and the Bush withholding-tax reduction in 2008, the payroll-tax holiday failed to produce any such momentum in 2011.  It’s another failed gimmick from an administration that has offered nothing but failed short-term gimmicks in place of a responsible economic and regulatory policy.

No, the House blocked this bill because they objected to the temporary nature of the holiday.  Actually, that’s not even true, since their preferred position is another yearlong extension of the cut, which is so temporary and inconsequential that it has no macroeconomic impact at all.  They’re objecting because it will only extend it for two more months:

House Republicans say a conference is the best way to resolve the differences between the two bills — the House bill calls for a year-long extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance, and pays for those extensions through reforms to these programs and further cuts to discretionary spending.

The Senate bill, which 39 Senate Republicans supported last week in an 89-10 vote, extends the payroll tax and unemployment insurance for just two months, and pays for those extensions by increasing fees mortgage holders would pay to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

I have a question — do Republicans on Capitol Hill bother to talk to one another?  If this package was so objectionable, why didn’t Boehner work with Mitch McConnell to force the demanded compromise in the Senate?  Only ten Senators voted against this bill, which means that the overwhelming majority of the Republican caucus gave it the thumbs-up.  Under those conditions, Reid’s anger is entirely legitimate.  He and McConnell worked out a compromise in which Republicans got the pipeline in exchange for a short-term extension that will get Congress through the holidays, but allows the GOP to push for more in later negotiations. Bear in mind that both parties have taken the same approach on budgeting matters — as they did last year in that bout of brinksmanship.

If the House thinks holding this up after getting overwhelming bipartisan approval in the Senate will win them political brownie points, they’d better take another look at the polls.  Obama is moving up incrementally on questions of protecting the middle class, and the GOP now wants to give him the position of fighting for a tax cut that Republicans don’t oppose, but won’t approve, either.  If they want to fight for principle in opposing the payroll tax holiday, then this makes sense.  If they want to fight to make it permanent so that its limited ability to impact long-term business and budget planning, then it would also make sense.  But blowing up a compromise simply because they object to a shorter-term gimmick over a slightly longer-term gimmick is fundamentally unserious.

Update: Because I didn’t make one point clear in this post, a commenter asked a good question:

Sorry Ed, but the average person will take Republicans side on this. A tax cut for a year or a tax cut for 2 months?

Most people will want that year long cut.

Actually, both sides want a year-long holiday extension.  The Senate compromise was reached with the understanding that further negotiations would take place to establish it.  The House wants to bypass that and get it done now.  That’s the only difference between the House and the Senate at this point on the main issue.


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What Would Ron Paul Do?

Eph on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Idiots. This is how majorities are lost.

Mark1971 on December 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Its the 2 month thing…How can a buisness plan ANYTHING if the tax rate can change every 2 months? Thats CRAZY!

BigFrank on December 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Who knew the new castrati was the GOP leadership team.

Boehner is an incompetent oaf, and has a “good working relationship” with Obama.

So much for the TEA PARTY wins last year.

PappyD61 on December 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Well, technically the whole “tax cut” is fundamentally unserious as you pointed out, it really has no effect anyway. So no matter the time, it’s all political theater anyway.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I have a question — do Republicans on Capitol Hill bother to talk to one another? If this package was so objectionable, why didn’t Boehner work with Mitch McConnell to force the demanded compromise in the Senate? Only ten Senators voted against this bill, which means that the overwhelming majority of the Republican caucus gave it the thumbs-up.

They probably talk more than Obama talked with Al-Malaki or General Petraeus, but that’s not saying much.

Buy Danish on December 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I keep wondering if I’m missing something and there is a greater point to be argued here by the House GOP. The answer, unfortunately, appears to be “No, they’re just shooting themselves in the foot – again.”

Rufus on December 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Sorry Ed, but the average person will take Republicans side on this. A tax cut for a year or a tax cut for 2 months?

Most people will want that year long cut.

And all the left had to do was force Obama just to make a decision on something. It’s not like they forced Obama to agree to allowing the pipeline to go forward. All they got out of it is making him make a decision. One that will be meaningless in 10 months for the vast majority of voters.

I think you’re reading this wrong Ed. Granted, the mainstream media will attempt to make the House out to be the bad guy, but the average person is not going to take it. All they know is they will pay more in taxes in 2 months time or in 12 months time. They’ll prefer 12 months later.

ButterflyDragon on December 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

How did Boehner and McConnell not coordinate this?

Both should be dropped from leadership.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

So they killed it, and don’t have a plan moving forward. Great.

Mord on December 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM

In the picture, I would very much like to b!tchsl@p the guy on the left, while the rest of you folks spank the guy on the right.

KOOLAID2 on December 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM

What Would Ron Paul Do?

Eph on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Ask OBL if we have his permission to build a base in Saudi Arabia?

lorien1973 on December 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Boehner and McConnell really screwed the pooch on this one. Why did McConnell let the GOP caucus in the senate vote overwhelmingly for a bill the house was going to kill? Ridiculous.

The Count on December 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM

This is all about retaining power. They need to be brought up on charges for spending tax dollars (directly or indirectly) for campaigning. They need to stop worrying about the next election and do their damned jobs, which they were elected to perform.

Almost all of them are multimillionaires, so they don’t need the salary or the benefits … and they certainly don’t need to be begging me for money out of my pocket to run their illegal campaigns.

The fact that both sides of the aisle in both houses are voting for unconstitutional legislation makes it glaringly obvious that there is a single party in America, ruled by the Elites who will do everything in their power to remain in power…to the complete disregard for America or its citizens.

They are crafty criminals who have stolen America from us. They are all traitors awaiting trial, in this life or the next…they will be judged and found lacking in morals and humanity. Those who are posturing for the primaries are no better than the incumbents… they all need to be swept into the dust bin of history as we start over (trying to get it right this time.)

It’s time to get ready for what is racing toward us. A free eBook on Survival is available at http://www.rongoulden.com/Literary.htm (it is not all-inclusive…merely a starting point for your individual journey).

xmanvietnam on December 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Dummies, all of them!

mrscullen on December 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM

***

So no matter the time, it’s all political theater anyway.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I don’t disagree, but the GOP looks like the Keystone Kops, while Obama and the Dems look like Gladiator or Spartucus.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Nothing new, and nothing to see here… keep the line moving along.

SoonerFn4Lfe on December 20, 2011 at 1:35 PM

This is another exmple of why despite this country being overwhelmingly ideologically in line with Republicans, they still lose elections.

blue13326 on December 20, 2011 at 1:36 PM

What Would Ron Paul Do?

Eph on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Praise Iran?

Darksean on December 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Boehner needs to get out in front on this. He looks like a bozo.

MTF on December 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Did the right thing for all the wrong reasons. They should have crafted a bill doubling or tripling the payroll tax on SS and Medicare. Maybe then the people would realize that the whole program needs to be reformed or better yet, scraped.

lowandslow on December 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Maybe this is the Dems’ idea of job creation – setting payroll withholding rates 2 months at a time will employ lots of programmers to keep changing the payroll software…. s/
Of course what they don’t understand is that comes at the expense of companies putting money and effort into truly PRODUCTIVE work.

dentarthurdent on December 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM

the Dems look like Gladiator or Spartucus.

BuckeyeSam on December 20, 2011 at 1:35 PM

The Barney Frank photo was yesterday’s news, Bro…

Bruno Strozek on December 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

This is all stupid. So when the Dems propose another 2 month, 3 month political trick to get them to the election? What then? Just keep going along with the 60 day extensions because the Dems keep proposing it. Last time I checked this has happened for the last three years and we’ve caved every single time. And every single time our side calls our side stupid if they don’t go along with yet another short term extension. Whatever.

I look forward to Groundhog day in two months and so on and so on.

hmfearny on December 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Its the 2 month thing…How can a buisness plan ANYTHING if the tax rate can change every 2 months? Thats CRAZY!

BigFrank on December 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Except that no one seriously believes that the rates will go back up at the end of two months. No one, Democrat or Republican, involved in these negotiations has said that. In fact, they’ve all assured that they will not go back up after that two months. The point of the two months is not to actually put in place an extension that lasts only two months. The point is to allow an extra period of time for the two sides to iron out their differences over how to pay for the longer extension.

In short, going with the two month extension does not create any uncertainty, because everyone knows it will get extended again. Sorry, but the House Republicans are just flat wrong on this one. After the Senate passed this extension with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, the American people are not going to side with the House.

And, frankly, they might as well just vote to make this thing permanent at this point. Because now and forever more, any attempt to return the payroll tax to its former rate will be shot down as an attempt to raise taxes on the middle class to avoid taxing the evil rich more. No Congress will ever successfully raise the rate back up.

Shump on December 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Wasserman-Schultz said already that the Rs “hate the middle class”.

Media, you Obama-azzcrawlers, wake up and tell the truth. Also, don’t let Krugman guide you. He is crazy.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

McConnell negotiated a compromise with the assumption that the House would pass the compromise. His assumptions were clearly false and he should waited until Boehner could consult his [the House GOP] conference.

youngTXcon on December 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Most people will want that year long cut.
ButterflyDragon

Agreed.

AP posted on the reasons on Dec. 19th here:http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/19/oops-two-month-payroll-tax-holiday-would-be-a-logistical-nightmare-say-experts/

oligostar on December 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

The Senate compromise was reached with the understanding that further negotiations would take place to establish it. The House wants to bypass that and get it done now.

This is the same senate that won’t consider a budget. Boehner is correct.

DanMan on December 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

They should have left after they sent it to the Senate.

Two months? Really? Don’t extend or extend permanently. But two months? That is unconscionable and indicative of hubris of the highest order.

We don’t send politicians to fix things for “two months” so we can get another brinkmanship action in two months.

One little note: If my FICA goes down, then my taxable income just went up. So the gov’t still gets a piece of my “tax savings” through ordinary income tax.

Time for Flat/Fair Tax. And no more deductions for anything. End social manipulation by special tax status.

ProfShadow on December 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM

I have a question — do Republicans on Capitol Hill bother to talk to one another?

Well they don’t read the bills obviously

Kini on December 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM

That might make sense if the cut produced a burst of economic growth, but just like the Making Work Pay tax cut in Obama’s stimulus package and the Bush withholding-tax reduction in 2008, the payroll-tax holiday failed to produce any such momentum in 2011.

It is not just the fricken tax cuts that makes the economy go

In case you missed it the thirty second time around :

IT IS NOT JUST THE FRICKEN TAX CUTS THAT MAKES THE ECONOMY GO.

When you enact/promulgate environmental policies that shut down industries, you can have a tax rate of ZERO and the economy still won’t grow.

Skandia Recluse on December 20, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Well they don’t read the bills obviously
Kini on December 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM

That’s been standard procedure since 2006 – “we have to pass the bill before we can know what’s in it”……

dentarthurdent on December 20, 2011 at 1:47 PM

This would have been better if Boehner had made it known from the get go that a short term extension was a deal killer. I agree to the extent that the havoc a short-term deal will have on business is what should be the message behind this. If at the end of 2 months what if Obama decides fine we aren’t moving forward with Keystone…then what? It will be spun that the Republicans forced the Presidents hand and that the President couldn’t go forward with it. This has already been stated by several Democratic senators. Then the House has 0 leverage and they will line up to extend the payroll taxes with nothing to show for it

The Republicans need to go on offense with messaging and make it known that the reason that American’s taxes are going up is because Harry Reid and the Senate took their ball and went home. That needs to be hammered to every news outlet and quoted in every reporter looking for a comment. They need to try to shame the Senate into coming back to DC…I know that shaming politicians isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but I think that if long term isn’t done now then Republicans lose their leverage.

I agree that the tax-cut has 0 effect but going into an election year as the party that raised taxes on American’s isn’t a label that either party can afford.

sm1974 on December 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM

What Would Ron Paul Do?

Eph on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

He’d blame America, cheer Jihadists, and then smoke some pot.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM

That’s been standard procedure since 2006 – “we have to pass the bill before we can know what’s in it”……

dentarthurdent on December 20, 2011 at 1:47 PM

True Dat!

I guess Chucky Cheese Schumer was wrong, again!

Kini on December 20, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Reid’s anger is entirely legitimate.

Well that just makes up for one of the many times when Reid’s anger was entirely illegitimate.

Face it, Congress has stopped all pretense of working together ever since the Dems lost control of one co-equal branch of government (not that it was all that functional before then). The House passes stuff and Harry Reid goes into a snit and never lets it get to the Senate floor. The Senate passes stuff on a party-line basis that they know full well will not pass the House. And, of course, Obama goes on vacation and ignores Congress and these kinds of issues alltogether.

I don’t know what is going to change the dynamic but these politicians do we citizens no favors when they play these games be it the GOP over payroll tax or the Dems over some other issue.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2011 at 1:49 PM

If the consensus is to keep the cut permanent then we need to adjust the payouts to SS recepients or we are going to borrow the difference. What say you conservatives? I’m young enough to be tired of borrowing the future.

Burnish the message by explaining the reality.

DanMan on December 20, 2011 at 1:49 PM

You can tell Democrats like Reid and Obama have never run a business. You don’t plan for 2 months worth of tax policy and then in 2 months plan again depending on what happens. You cannot run a business like that effectively.

Which I guess is the whole point. Democrats will stop at nothing to destroy small businesses. The GEs and Googles of the world have 1000 accountants ready to deal with this stuff. They can handle it. Joe Shmoe, Inc who employs 10 people has to do it all himself and will spend the next 2 months figuring out what payroll taxes he has to pay instead of concentrating on running a business.

angryed on December 20, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Cutting taxes going into a neary bankrupt system was never a good idea to begin with. But, now that everyone agrees that cutting taxes is a good thing, they should have cut personal and business income taxes across the board… and make it permanent (i.e stable).

Unemployment benefits are a State issue, and the Fed Gov should be out of it.

Quit wasting time on this crap and start cutting spending, regulations and departments.

Dexter_Alarius on December 20, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Toss your weight around on this issue, but cave on the debt ceiling program cuts, etc.

pffffft.

Mimzey on December 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The house GOP is correct in opposing this. The issue isn’t even whether it’s smart to extend it for two months, a year, or not at all. It’s because the model constructed in the Senate is fundamentally unworkable.

Because the Dems in the Senate were worried that the cut might not be extended past two months, they limited the cut to apply to a maximum of approximately $18,000 in income. They did this to make sure that wealthier people wouldn’t get the full benefit of cuts on $110,000 (the top limit for SS taxes) if the cut weren’t extended in February.

So instead of simply making it a 2% cut, they’ve made it a 2% cut of 16% (2 out of 12 months) of the maximum. So now the payroll companies can’t just make the cut, they’ve got to make the cut and keep it within certain limits. It’s not a good time to be a CPA.

The whole thing is phenomenally stupid on the Dems part, and if it does fall apart it’ll be because of their stupid ideas of fairness.

PetecminMd on December 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Better headline: Harry Reid refuses payroll tax cuts.

freedomplow on December 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM

You know when you’re plumbing the depths of unpopularity, try not to make it worse.

Apologetic California on December 20, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Better headline: Democrats want your taxes to go up in two months.

freedomplow on December 20, 2011 at 1:52 PM

So, the Republicans again shoot themselves in the foot.
The stupid party.
Anti-American socialists (Euro-trash wannabes) to the left.
Weak bumblers to the right.

graywolf on December 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I have a question — do Republicans on Capitol Hill bother to talk to one another?

Well they don’t read the bills obviously

Kini on December 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM

The House Republicans are quite aware that the Senate stripped their reforms out of the bill.

youngTXcon on December 20, 2011 at 1:54 PM

I propose a new law.

No law dealing with the tax code shall be signed into law after October 31st of any year. You want a tax cut or tax increase, gotta allow at least 60 day for the new law to take effect in the new year. This is simply insane, making such big changes in tax policy with only days to be implemented.

angryed on December 20, 2011 at 1:54 PM

So instead of simply making it a 2% cut, they’ve made it a 2% cut of 16% (2 out of 12 months) of the maximum. So now the payroll companies can’t just make the cut, they’ve got to make the cut and keep it within certain limits. It’s not a good time to be a CPA.

The whole thing is phenomenally stupid on the Dems part, and if it does fall apart it’ll be because of their stupid ideas of fairness.

PetecminMd on December 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM

They could have made it a lot easier. Put a cap on the amount of the “cut”. Any “cut” over that amount is due back on April 15, 2003. But that would be too easy. Instead Reid & Co. had to make it 1000 times harder and cost billions more to implement.

angryed on December 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM

This is the same senate that won’t consider a budget. Boehner is correct.

DanMan on December 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Oh! You went there! Reid may be having a snit over this glitch in payroll tax holidays. Bloggers like Ed may be lecturing the GOP on what they see as boneheaded partisanship. BUT….. it is important to keep the big picture in mind.

Why is it that Congress is allowed to get away with not passing a budget for the entire time Obama has been in office? How, by any stretch of the imagination, is it acceptable to fund government by continuing resolutions and omnibus legislation passed in the 11th hour to avoid government shutdown? Why isn’t more attention being paid to that fact than minor squabbles like this?

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Is Mitch McConnell Ed’s ghost writer? Seriously, this put the onus where it should be–on the backs of the democrat senate and presidency. This was the right thing to do because a 2-month extension is pure folly and chaos, which is what Barack wants.

SouthernGent on December 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Everyone but me seems to think that House R’s are bumbling this. I think they’ve got it right.

There is NO policy case for a two-month extension. Reid will have a hell of a time trying to explain to people that House R’s did wrong by objecting to it.

It’s pretty easy to explain that a two-month extension serves no policy purpose, serving only the purpose of excusing the Senate from trying to figure a reasonable conclusion to this mess. Getting the Senate home for Christmas is hardly a good political measge for Reid.

Chuckles3 on December 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I was yelling at the tv when cantor was on
Why not bring up the fact that Reid didn’t even bother to bring up the house passed bill just his own bill

Infuriating

The lsm helping the dems big time

cmsinaz on December 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM

In 2012, throw the entire Congress out, from the far left to the far right. It’s the only way to teach them the lesson of doing their job, and living the same as their constituents do.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM

They are crafty criminals who have stolen America from us. They are all traitors awaiting trial, in this life or the next…

xmanvietnam on December 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM

jee, dude, calm down…have you forgotten to take your meds today?

jimver on December 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

This was the right thing to do because a 2-month extension is pure folly and chaos, which is what Barack wants.

SouthernGent on December 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Indeed. That way he can ‘save’ the middle class twice, from the “mean Republicans”.

Media, you derelicts, spontaneously combust for being the liars that you are.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

And why did House Republicans block the Senate bill?

to show that the dems are trying to screw us without lube.

upinak on December 20, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Sorry Ed, but the average person will take Republicans side on this. A tax cut for a year or a tax cut for 2 months?

Most people will want that year long cut.

ButterflyDragon on December 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

ButterflyDragon has it right. People will look at their paychecks and say, “I like having that extra 3% in there. And, I like having it in there the entire year, not just for a few months.”

It’s an interesting argument, however, of whether the tax holiday should have ever been introduced at all. I am of the opinion that the less I pay to the government, regardless of what its intended purpose is, the more it is a good thing for me, my family and the local businesses I frequent.

That’s why I struggle a bit to understand why some republicans are against this tax holiday at all. Aren’t we for limited government? Don’t we know how to spend our money better than the government on our behalf?

I get that this is to fund a targeted specific social program, but let’s be honest; it’s not really separate at all. If it was, I could Google “lock box” and get results showing a chest full of dollars. Instead it returns pictures of Harry and Lloyd’s suitcase full of IOU’s.

But, like I said, I’m probably missing something.

convservativedogbite on December 20, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Has any of these brain surgeons decided just what the INSURANCE PREMIUM is to be for the year? Is it to be $4,624.20 (4.2% of $110,100) or $6,826.20 (6.2% of $110,100?).

Does someone that makes in excess of $700,000 per year only to pay the $4,624.20, because they hit the wage limit within that first two months?

Can we now quit the notion that Social Security is some kind of insurance program funded by premiums, and treat it as the welfare program it is? Calling premiums “taxes” should eliminate all doubt of what SS is.

MNHawk on December 20, 2011 at 2:01 PM

In 2012, throw the entire Congress out, from the far left to the far right. It’s the only way to teach them the lesson of doing their job, and living the same as their constituents do.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM

how about the senate? what about the chair of the white house as well?

upinak on December 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM

In 2012, throw the entire Congress out, from the far left to the far right. It’s the only way to teach them the lesson of doing their job, and living the same as their constituents do.

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM

really, and who’s going to throw the far left out, you? :-)…it would be nice to actually envision realistic solutions…the left might actually win seats the next elections cycle, btw…and Obama is up 4 points if not more…so, yeah, the conservative voters might have the be able change a couple of conservative seats here and there, but they no power over the left ones..none, whatsoever…

jimver on December 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM

The House Republicans are quite aware that the Senate stripped their reforms out of the bill.

youngTXcon on December 20, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Bingo! McConnell didn’t confab with Boehner when he caved to the Reid on the House’s original bill. Screw the Senat Repubs, who happened to have voted for Holder, Solis, and Napoletano.

marinetbryant on December 20, 2011 at 2:04 PM

If they didn’t like the bill, WHY DID THEY PASS IT TO BEGIN WITH?!

Apologetic California on December 20, 2011 at 2:04 PM

I don’t get what Ed’s point is…extending the payrol tax for two more months makes for impractical if not idiotic policy…is anyone seriously thinking that two months from now O is going to sign on the keystone pipe? yeah, right…it was all kabuki to buy some time and come up with a new line of attack against the Reps…so I don’t really get why is everybody getting their panties in a bunch over this…it’s just Washington being Washington…

jimver on December 20, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Bambi’s having a press conference scolding everyone again, ha! This is rich….

All this so we can do it again in 8 weeks? What a fu*king jagoff this guy is.

Tim Zank on December 20, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Obama is moving up incrementally on questions of protecting the middle class, and the GOP now wants to give him the position of fighting for a tax cut that Republicans don’t oppose, but won’t approve, either.

The “professor” hasn’t wasted any time – on TV now giving another lecture. I’m sure he’s getting even ‘testier’ since his Hawaii vacation is delayed.

MissMagnolia on December 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM

I’ll keep saying it ’til we replace them with true conservatives…..REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP BLOWS.

We gifted them with the house, gains in the senate, amnd gains in state and local gov’s with the Midterms…..and we’ve still got Establishment Bozo’s at the top.

Time to send another message in ’12.

Tim_CA on December 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM

One little note: If my FICA goes down, then my taxable income just went up. So the gov’t still gets a piece of my “tax savings” through ordinary income tax.

Time for Flat/Fair Tax. And no more deductions for anything. End social manipulation by special tax status.

ProfShadow on December 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM

I don’t think that is correct. I believe FIT is calculated on gross income before FICA is taken out. It won’t have an impact on your taxable income.

I laugh at both sides of the aisle championing these gimmicks. Just makes both look irresponsible in my opinion and will cause me to want to throw more of them out.

GeorgiaBuckeye on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Remind me again why we are attacking the House GOP and hoping for another go-round in February?

What we need is a re-haul of entitlements and the tax code. Anybody attacking the House instead of making that point is just playing into Obama’s hands, IMHO.

MayBee on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Uh Pat, I’d like to buy multiple vowels. I don’t think I’ll be able to solve this puzzle until next November.

msupertas on December 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

BO just needs to say he had a tax break where we all know he has increased taxes and spending

Cincy Conservative on December 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

IMHO the Pubbies in the Senate played the ‘go along, get along’ song again; no doubt swayed by that month off deal! Seriously, they’re screwing up the payroll systems all over the place. They say it takes 90+ days to redo the payrolls and the requisite coding. Christmas, even Obama wanted a 1-year deal; but the grand poohbahs running the Senate caved to this idiotic 2-month schtick!

We have too many in Congress (mostly lawyers) who’ve never met a payroll, have no clue about running a business but sure as he!! no how to spend other peoples money to buy votes – the only business they know but they never admit it.

A Senates that hasn’t passed a budget going on 1,000 days and we’re supposed to be in awe of their acumen in producing a 2-month crap sandwich that will raise mortgage rates permanently in the future and keep Fannie and Freddie in the driver’s seat. Ugh!!! My head hurts!

Bob in VA on December 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

There was much more to this “bill” than the payroll tax cut. It is 1200 pages long with lots of not so hidden “taxes.”I know the Republicans are taking the blame for the failure of passage, but for once they were right.

sandee on December 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

We gifted them with the house, gains in the senate, amnd gains in state and local gov’s with the Midterms…..and we’ve still got Establishment Bozo’s at the top.

Time to send another message in ’12.

Tim_CA on December 20, 2011 at 2:08 P

M

the Dems will probably win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate anyways…so, they 9the Reps) get the ‘lesson’ right there…but how would this benefit the country?…yeah, it’s rhetorical…

jimver on December 20, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Has no one else noticed the duration of the tax cut is exactly the same as the time frame given to Obama to decide on the Keystone XL pipeline? The only logic I can see for the two month tax cut is it gives the Dems another chance to play chicken with the tax code and get the monkey off The One’s back.

HogsBreath on December 20, 2011 at 2:12 PM

A two month tax extension is idiocy. I’m glad they called the bluff.

Kini on December 20, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Reality check list

Schadenfreude on December 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Cornyn voted for the 2 month deal. Hey John, explain yourself. Is a 2 month gimmick good enough for you?

The senate is full of losers on both sides.

DanMan on December 20, 2011 at 2:16 PM

There was much more to this “bill” than the payroll tax cut. It is 1200 pages long with lots of not so hidden “taxes.”I know the Republicans are taking the blame for the failure of passage, but for once they were right.

sandee on December 20, 2011 at 2:11 PM

The HOUSE got it right. Most GOP and all dem senators continue the game. If you’re in Texas please give Ted Cruz a look for the senate. He will not play games.

DanMan on December 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM

House Republican conferees: Brady (TX), Camp, Ellmers, Hayworth, Price, Reed, Upton and Walden

youngTXcon on December 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Sorry Ed, I disagree on this too. The purpose of the Senate vote was to keep the politics going, 2 months from now, so Obama and company can blame the Republicans. There’s a time to do something for the country and a time to do politics. Just for the fun of it, let’s do something for the country, get this out of the way and have a vote, next November, on who’s right.

The Senate Republicans probably figured, since the House has been caving and accomplishing little all year, they’d do it again. This time they said no. I, for one, am proud of them, as long as they don’t end up caving in conference.

I expect the press to show them 20 polls that say they’re losing this argument. Well, let the Democrats go home and tell their constituents why they wouldn’t do the deal for a year!!!

bflat879 on December 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Bunch of losers. And what’s with hiking payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Do they need some green to buy some Chevy Volts or something?

These people are all crooks and liars.

CorporatePiggy on December 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The Senate passed a $166.00 tax cut, the House passed a $1,000.00 tax cut.

freedomplow on December 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The Senate compromise was reached with the understanding that further negotiations would take place to establish it. The House wants to bypass that and get it done now.

Yes. The Senate, led by that senile old fool wants to kick the can down the road once again. BTW, how long has it been since the Senate last passed an annual budget?

Make the bastards stay in Washington until the job is done.

GarandFan on December 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM

What Would Ron Paul Do?

Eph on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Praise Iran?

Darksean on December 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Take the crazy train

Roy Rogers on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Look, if the Democrats believe that they can come back and brinksmanship the whole thing all over again in two months, then they already know what they will accept and what they won’t, and they know what they are going to try to extort demand then. There isn’t any excuse for delaying two months over something that should have been done months ago in the first place. Of course, if they think they will have had Obama “kill” the pipeline deal in two months, they may believe they would have the Republicans over a barrel (pun intended) at that point.
Personally, I will wait to see how it plays out before judging. It looks to me like the strong hand is on the side of the House right now, but we’ll see.

Sue Anne on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Ed – You are right.

The senate & house republicans should have spoken and this should not have happened.

But dont you think that it really doesn’t make sense for the senate to pass something like this only for 2 months? So why doesn’t house repubs saying no to this asinine bill not a good thing?

vpaddy123 on December 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM

And isn’t it a very odd thing that a Democrat President is blowing a huge hole in Social Security. Speaking of pushing grandma off the cliff, this whole payroll tax thing is an election year bribe or the first step in doing away with all claims that there’s a Social Security Trust Fund and perhaps the first step in the government takeover of all retirement funds—like all that 401K money just sitting there. They want that money.

So, why aren’t Republicans pulling a Democrat demogoguery? Hey Seniors! The Dems are defunding SS.

Portia46 on December 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

So, why aren’t Republicans pulling a Democrat demogoguery? Hey Seniors! The Dems are defunding SS.

Portia46 on December 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The answer is always the same..

GOP = The Stupid Party.

angryed on December 20, 2011 at 2:38 PM

What Would Ron Paul Do?

Eph on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Praise Iran?

Darksean on December 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Take the crazy train

Roy Rogers on December 20, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Eat a breakfast of stewed prunes and a poached egg before closing all bases abroad?

Tim_CA on December 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

This looks like a case of the House GOP, and in particular the conservative/freshmen members, not being able to take “Yes” for an answer. All the comments seem to agree that there is no way that the GOP could vote against this extension in an election year, and in exchange they got the pipeline decision deadline, offsets against the cost without a tax increase, other policy concessions and deleted the Obama proposal to increase the amount. Agreed that both the press coverage and the GOP messaging on this has been apallingly bad, but there has to be more to this than simply one year vs two months.

…..this whole payroll tax thing is an election year bribe or the first step in doing away with all claims that there’s a Social Security Trust Fund and perhaps the first step in the government takeover of all retirement funds—like all that 401K money just sitting there. They want that money.

So, why aren’t Republicans pulling a Democrat demogoguery? Hey Seniors! The Dems are defunding SS.

Portia46 on December 20, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Also, completely agree with Portia46′s comment. The “trust fund” is an accounting fiction, Social Security is not a retirement plan but an income transfer (from the future to the present, to the extent that it is financed by borrowing), and needs to be fundamentally reformed. The Democrats’ raid on SS to finance a “tax cut” should immunize the GOP against any Dem attacks that the GOP wants to “end SS as we know it”.

Upstreamer on December 20, 2011 at 2:46 PM

very close to 1000 days without a CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED Budget passing the Senate. Boehner is right to make the senate do it’s job. 2 months of “tax cuts” is simply crazy and probably not possible to do in the real world.

Mini-14 on December 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM

This is another classic example of #EpicFailLeadership. Why oh why can’t McConnell and Boehner get on the same page for once?

It’s best described using my favorite line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: “Morons….I have morons on my team!”

search4truth on December 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I could care less if Harry Reid is angry. That pompous little pin-dick can pound sand and shed a tear if he is unhappy he has to come back from his early Christmas break after trying to foist a legislative turd on the American people.

HopeHeFails on December 20, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Rush dissected it on his show this morning. The Democrats want to be able to bring this issue up again in two months (campaign season) and use it as an issue.

hachiban on December 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM

So why doesn’t house repubs saying no to this asinine bill not a good thing?

vpaddy123 on December 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Because spineless people are worried about “the message it sends to independents”.

Portia46…keep talking.

DanMan on December 20, 2011 at 3:03 PM

The Democrats want to be able to bring this issue up again in two months (campaign season) and use it as an issue.

Sorry, I got distracted when the cat jumped on my keyboard. I meant to say, they want to bring the issue up again during campaign season and use it as a club to beat the Republicans with. They’re are, among other things, relying on the ignorance of the voters about the funding of Social Security, and the fact that eventually there will have to be a large tax hike to make up the difference to the SS fund. Republicans want to deal with this now, including some kind of alternate funding mechanism to make up the difference, and the Dems simply want to have another weapon during the election to make the Republicans look bad.

Remember, whichever way the Republicans go, the Democrats will criticize it. There is no way they can win the rhetorical battle, because the other side will always find something wrong with it. So it might simply be best to do the right thing. But that seems to have gone by the wayside in an election year.

hachiban on December 20, 2011 at 3:10 PM

No matter how you dice it…this makes the GOP look bad. The media spin will be ‘mean ole republicans want to raise taxes on the middle class’.
Have you noticed how Obama is rising in the polls? Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why

Redford on December 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Wasn’t it pointed out that a two-month tax cut would be impossible to implement by the majority of businesses? Even if you were to continue negotiations next year… how much money would be wasted by businesses rushing to implement the cut without guarantee it would last longer than two months?

Ukiah on December 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM

So the Senate wants fees added to new or refinanced mortgages to the tune of $6120 over the life of the loan, to cover a payroll tax reduction of 2 percent which will net about $1000 over the year to most families. i.e. $19.23 / week. Big whoop.

The tax holiday has nearly no effect on the 45 million retirees. Most of them don’t pay into social security anymore, they take out.

The 2 percent reduction in Social Security funding is really a 16.1 percent reduction in revenue to the Social Security fund which was running a deficit before any tax holiday was implemented. So this will accelerate the the demise of social security and increase the deficit by the full amount of the shortage.

Congress really knows what it is doing doesn’t it.

Dasher on December 20, 2011 at 3:13 PM

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