Under pressure, Republicans concede on unemployment benefits and doc fix

posted at 7:13 pm on February 15, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Part of the reason Republicans would be better served to stick to principle is that they rarely, if ever, manage to out-maneuver Democrats at the political game. No better evidence of this exists than the manner in which the president continues to school GOPers on the payroll tax cut extension.

The payroll tax cut is one tax cut progressives can really get behind. Why? Even workers among the nearly half of Americans who pay “no taxes” still contribute to Social Security. It’s the one way they’re still somewhat invested; lessen or eliminate that contribution and they have no reason to worry about the insolvency of Social Security. After all, they’re not paying for it in any way — not even through income taxes that go to the general fund that will pay out benefits when Social Security goes bust. In other words, the payroll tax cut extension — and, what progressives probably ultimately want, the elimination of the payroll tax — makes redistribution of wealth that much easier.

So, the president started carping for the payroll tax cut extension — and Republicans, many of whom have pledged not to raise taxes, had to support the cut. They should have taken the time to explain that “the payroll tax cut” is not a proper tax cut, but they lost the rhetorical battle before they even began to fight the policy battle.

Initially, they at least insisted that the cut be paid for — but, eventually, they caved on even that, proposing a clean payroll tax cut extension. Theoretically, that was supposed to force Democrats to temporarily forgo their obsession with other types of spending. Republicans would pass the clean extension and Democrats would have to either go along with it or allow Republicans to accuse them of hiking taxes. Later, they’d all take up the issues of unemployment insurance and the Medicare doc fix — but the three issues would no longer have to be bundled into one.

It doesn’t look like that’s what’s going to happen, though:

Congressional negotiators reached a tentative agreement Tuesday to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while avoiding a fee cut for Medicare doctors, according to multiple legislators and aides. …

The agreement covers all three measures — the payroll tax cut, the unemployment benefits extension, and the so-called “doc fix” — for the rest of 2012. The latter two measures — costing a combined $50 billion — will be paid for, aides said.

Possible funding sources to pay for the latter two measures include savings from broadband spectrum sales of about $13 billion, increased pension contributions by federal employees of about $16 billion, and cuts to Medicare hospital and specialist fees that would not affect patients, according to the congressional aides.

Under the terms of the deal, the maximum time an unemployed person can receive benefits will drop from 99 to 73 weeks, according to a GOP aide and a Democratic aide close to the discussions. The maximum length of time for people in states with an average unemployment rate will drop to 63 weeks.

Certainly, I understand why Republicans would rather not debate the payroll tax cut extension over and over again: Given the president’s framing of the extension as “a middle class tax cut,” it doesn’t play well for Republicans to oppose it. The answer, though, would have been to reframe the issue, not to allow the president to drag them into nonsensical battles they’re destined to lose. When the president wants the people’s support, he takes his case to them. Congress is poised to do that even more effectively than he does; the president can’t be all across the country at one time, but the GOP majority in Congress can.

Once again, Republicans should have stuck to principle.


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G’night, folks.

Until that equation changes, until and unless there are no more special interests/lobbyists, until there are term limits on all government, nothing will change.

You want change? I challenge you to effect it. (I will be at your side.)

Again, g’night. It’s time for a soak.

jersey taxpayer on February 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM

jersey taxpayer on February 15, 2012 at 10:32 PM

I can relate to your experiences with your child. Raising two alone was not easy either. Everything I did was for their advantage but not an easy task. “Father (or Mother) knows best” is still true today:-)

We sacrifice for our children as our Parents did before us. The reward?
The appreciation that comes from the love and children themselves expressed to you as they realize all you did on their behalf.

I see you are signing off, have a good evening. Nice talking with you.

bluefox on February 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Two things come to mind about this gutless decision:

1. The Republican Party is done as founded.
2. The United States will fall within the next ten years. Massive starvation, increased crime, and government rule is on the horizon.

Blame Democrates and Progressive Republicans for the outcome, not the people.

jjnco73 on February 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM

The GOP should have “framed” the arguement by saying that “this is not a tax cut, but you are taking away money that would pay for your parents/grandparents retirement or medical services.”

Or “Granny won’t be able to pay for her rent or medicine, because you are taking away her share.”

Now, in regards to the GOP and getting virtually no fight out of them… No third party yet. The fustration is mutual from this ol’boy!

It’s time to “take over” the republican party, we need good people to step up and take over leadership positions in the local, then state, and finally the national level (RNC). We need to re-gain the party control by new blood and new leadership.

jersey is right too, term limits.

mr_west on February 15, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Does anyone know what 16 trillion dollars looks like? If you stack 16 trillion in 1 dollar uints, that stack would be 1.265 million miles high. That is 5 times the distance between the earth and the moon.

jjnco73 on February 15, 2012 at 11:26 PM

The GOP will betray you.

kg598301 on February 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Mittbots to the left of me, Palinistas to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle with O’.

AttaBoyLuther on February 16, 2012 at 12:44 AM

We have to have new leadership in the Congress in 2012
Paul Ryan for Speaker
And Marco Rubio in the Senate

Delsa on February 16, 2012 at 1:22 AM

They tried to “reframe the argument” and it flopped, flat – as have Democratic arguments for tax hikes over the years promising to reduce deficits with the revenue.

It’s nigh well impossible to do that after flopping the first time. Remember, nobody voted for Social Security taxes to be raised in the first place. It’s money people can see in their checks.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. We have to pick our battles wisely: the media is covering for Reid’s obstructionism while Obama rails against Congress as if it were 100% Republican. No one in Congress has the stature to carry the battle – it’s the blunder Dole and Gingrich couldn’t stop repeating, they only made Clinton look Presidential.

Adjoran on February 16, 2012 at 1:31 AM

Two things come to mind about this gutless decision:

1. The Republican Party is done as founded.
2. The United States will fall within the next ten years. Massive starvation, increased crime, and government rule is on the horizon.

Blame Democrates and Progressive Republicans for the outcome, not the people.

jjnco73 on February 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Yes and no.

The US will not fall like, “Massive starvation, increased crime, and government rule is on the horizon.”

The US will be another Japan. For the next 10 years, the US can make it by own its own dominance over everyone else; but rolling recessions will be normal.

It’s going to take 20 to 30 years to turn the US into the social system that is daily life in europe.

Everyone between 20 and 40 is going to hate it as they used to know there was a difference. I am looking to do my best impersonation of the character clint eastwood played in gran torino. I’ll gripe to my dog on the porch daily, drink beer, smoke cigars and get myself shot to death by taking on the neighborhood gang when i know i’m starting to go downhill and do not want to go thru what obamacare will have turned into by then.

cougar on February 16, 2012 at 1:52 AM

The Spelunker of the House caved? Again?? Whodathunkit???

Gohawgs on February 16, 2012 at 2:28 AM

Once again, Republicans should have stuck to principle.

Sigh. Of course, that would require the Republicans having principles.

You can see the problem.

tom on February 16, 2012 at 4:54 AM

When I go to townhalls, I am ignored or given some BS line. I am not allowed follow-ups, because everyone ‘wants their turn’.

Scott H

Probably because you ask stupid questions like “How does electing more Conservatives help”, lol.

xblade on February 16, 2012 at 5:00 AM

Win-win-win.

urban elitist on February 15, 2012 at 8:10 PM

50 billion is a drop in the bucket. Do you actually think that this kind of decision makes a difference to the average American other than to shake their heads in profound disgust at the ineptness of the government ? To know that they’ll still be paying payroll taxes confiscated by a system who’s returns for them, when they retire, are in jeopardy because the clowns in DC want to spend the future now to keep the game going and get re-elected?

The definition of insanity is seeing the government continue with this kind of stupidity knowing full well that it does nothing for the long term structural problems in our economy.

Why ? They don’t know how. It is beyond their control. To think that this is a win-win-win only demonstrates that you went to public school.

The real problem is we can’t get rid of people like you.

DevilsPrinciple on February 16, 2012 at 5:16 AM

Why do we work so hard to elect these people?

Seriously, what do we get out of it? A slight slowdown in government’s rate of growth, if that? What else?

One other thing: these were the guys who were going to force Romney to govern as a conservative?

DRayRaven on February 16, 2012 at 5:24 AM

Caved again! There’s no question but that the Republican leadership needs to be replaced with true conservative leadership that will not capitulate to virtually every Democrat whim! The Dems love “bipartisanship”, as it always means they get whatever they want, and the dumb **s Republicans get zip!

GFW on February 16, 2012 at 6:54 AM

SSDD
I wish I knew why conservative orgs and PACs haven’t been all over the airwaves (those that will allow them) with the message that the “payroll tax cut” is a dangerous fiscal ruse. It really is a simple equation.
It’s just one more bait and switch by the Ø’trauma thugs to garner all of the votes of their psychophants (yes, i know) and the stupid among us.
The entitlement generation(s) are going to screw over their own children.
I hope they’re happy. Some day those gubmint checks are gonna stop coming.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 16, 2012 at 7:17 AM

Let’s face it, this is why the establishment doesn’t want a President Gingrich, because he knows what can and can’t be done. These guys were beat for 3 reasons, they have no leadership, they have no message, and they have no plan. It proves you can do things, for all the right reasons, and still lose the argument, if you don’t plan on arguing in the first place.

The Democrats have not done the country any favors here, yet Maxine Waters will still rail on Republicans and call them baby killers. When will people, like Boehner, ever learn.

bflat879 on February 16, 2012 at 7:27 AM

This is not the year to “stick to principle”, this is the year to choose your battles.
In an election year, let the dems have these minor “wins”, they are the battles that all losing armies win at times.
Most people would side with the dems, because they wouldn’t take the time to understand the “tax cut”.
We have a war to win…these skirmishes are nothing compared to what we need to focus on in a few months.
And after the convention, than we can aim all of our forces at the enemy.
But one thing never escapes my mind….550 or so people are responsible for the mess we are in…
Deficits, taxes, energy, unemployment, budget, monetary, all because 550 people want it that way…

right2bright on February 16, 2012 at 7:27 AM

No one in Congress has the stature to carry the battle – it’s the blunder Dole and Gingrich couldn’t stop repeating, they only made Clinton look Presidential.

Adjoran on February 16, 2012 at 1:31 AM

Everyone is making the assumption that someone actually wants to do something…

right2bright on February 16, 2012 at 7:29 AM

More of the same.
What a surprise.

Badger40 on February 16, 2012 at 7:34 AM

I would argue……THE gop leadership DID STICK TO PRINCIPLE.

Because time and time again we see the self castration that began with the BUSH 41 “kinder, gentler” theme has turned the party into nothing more than a BIG GOV LOVING PROGRESSIVE led Democrat lite party. They constantly reinforce this conclusion. Boehner and the team have a mission of “accommodation” to the Democrats.

When the Republic is at stake, and INDIVIDUAL liberty is at stake the Ruling Class and nearly the entire gop vote for stuff like this and that “pick American citizens off the street” disaster from last month.

The party votes on Principle alright……….accommodation and whining to their base that there is nothing they can do about it.

and sorry folks the silent Tea Party we sent to congress in 2010……where are they in these battles?

PappyD61 on February 16, 2012 at 7:36 AM

The party votes on Principle alright……….accommodation and whining to their base that there is nothing they can do about it.

and sorry folks the silent Tea Party we sent to congress in 2010……where are they in these battles?

PappyD61 on February 16, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Well Said.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 16, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Keept supporting Republicans and keep telling yourself there are two major parties and not one.

Dante on February 16, 2012 at 8:15 AM

and sorry folks the silent Tea Party we sent to congress in 2010……where are they in these battles?

PappyD61 on February 16, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Dante on February 16, 2012 at 8:15 AM

and sorry folks the silent Tea Party we sent to congress in 2010……where are they in these battles?

PappyD61 on February 16, 2012 at 7:36 AM

They caved long ago to the GOP pressure of do as we say, not as we do. They were Trojan horse candidates. Republicans in liberal GOP sheeps clothing.

DevilsPrinciple on February 16, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Anyone think the Willard Mitt Romney would meet even as much resistance as Obama has been from this congress? Did not think so.

Romney will put liberals on the bench.
Romney will not get rid of the bad aspects of Obamacare, he sees them as the good parts.
Romney will put the nation deeper into debt, it is all there was to his business strategy. Borrow heavily, transfer the money to his friends.

Newt, you are our only real hope this Election.

astonerii on February 16, 2012 at 8:44 AM

You are wrong here when you say the Payroll taxes are not a proper place for tax cuts.

The Social Security taxes are way out of whack because they use the money to pay for a lot of things that are NOT Social Security. I don’t mean, robbing peter to pay paul in the general fund, I mean things like:

Disability Checks. SS is not disability insurance.

SSI Social Security is not a Welfare check

Crazy Checks.

How disrespectful of me to call this, but a lot of people get a Social Security check to pay for their mental incapacity, or condition, including people of low income who get checks for their minor children because they have ADHD.

These things are not checks for people who retire because they are 67.5 years old.

I bet you know other things that should not be paid out of the Social Security Trust Fund!

The Social Security taxes are Way TOO high, especially if you are Self Employed and pay the whole 15% yourself.

I see and hear of a lot of people who SKIP out on paying the 15% SE taxes, by not claiming any of their cash income.

I do feel bad for them because if they are working for themselves, they would not have anything left when they paid all the hands that are reaching for their pocket.

The entire Congress voted down the health care law that required businesses to report amounts of $600 paid to other vendors, and yes it was burdonsome, but one reason people didn’t like it, is that people are working for cash in the Obama New Normal. Some doing it while they take an Unemployment check.

The Payroll Tax cut should be for the Self Employed ONLY. And if you are Self Employed, it should be sequestered for you in an account with a cash value. We need MORE people in this country working for themselves and actually able to thrive on it.

So don’t float along on the notion that payroll taxes Is Not a Proper Tax Cut, because it would be a great way to start.

The idea is NOT to fund the SS department, the idea is to FUND Retirement benefits.

Fleuries on February 16, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Why do Republicans do this? Because they are morally weak? Or because they represent an electorate? There are so many clowns who post hear that think they and their conservatism are at the center of the universe. I am a conservative but I recognize that those who will be voting in November are not all conservatives. The deciders of the next election are men and women that the typical HotAir commenter considers to be brainless idiots. The conservative ideology we love doesn’t consistently work for them they like a few conservative principles but they have a foot in the other camp. They need to be persuaded to come on over. And, by the way, stupid Rick Santorum on the record as opposed to contraception, isn’t likely to be an effective persuader.

aloysiusmiller on February 16, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Fleuries on February 16, 2012 at 8:52 AM

So we can count you as voting for Newt in the primary??

astonerii on February 16, 2012 at 9:12 AM

aloysiusmiller on February 16, 2012 at 8:53 AM

We could just go to direct representation for everything in that case. The idea is that we elect representatives to go there to vote in our stead. If what you are saying is how it should be, then I have no hope of being represented, and I am no longer willing to give government my consent. I demand that I have a representative in office that represents me, not the middle of electorate. Down with republicanism and I say, replace it with direct vote then.

astonerii on February 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Why ? They don’t know how. It is beyond their control. To think that this is a win-win-win only demonstrates that you went to public school.

The real problem is we can’t get rid of people like you.

DevilsPrinciple on February 16, 2012 at 5:16 AM

DevilsPrinciple, please let us not blame a 2nd rate education system for the failings of a 3rd rate mind. I too went to a public school and have been able to turn full blown progressive liberals into conservatives with nothing more than polite conversation.

All credit goes to by teachers for actually teaching facts from several sources, and a family that values education.

Freed0m28 on February 16, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Oops, I was trying to say that my teachers get the credit.

Next time I think I will preview.

Freed0m28 on February 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Part of the reason Republicans would be better served to stick to principle is that they rarely, if ever, manage to out-maneuver Democrats at the political game.

Citation? That’s a pretty generalized statement that doesn’t hold water over the course of the past 20 years. Get some perspective.

Hostile Gospel on February 16, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Very, very disappointing. I checked, and our new Rep. Yoder, elected in 2010 to replace a long-time dysfunctional Democrat, caved.

If Congress can’t get hold of a simple issue like this and do what’s right, there is no way they will solve the larger budget problem.

landlines on February 16, 2012 at 10:18 AM

One thing that bugs me is the notion that those that pay zero taxes vote Democrat. I for one have paid zero federal income taxes for the past 5 years, but will pay taxes this year.

Why did I pay zero taxes? I took advantage of the tax code; education tax credits and deductions specifically. Over those five years my federal taxes actually averaged a negative amount. Now those education credits are not available to me, so again I will be paying taxes.

And over my lifetime I have never once voted for a Democrat. That has included eleven presidential elections, and many local and state elections.

Also since I am also retired I get zero benefit of the payroll tax holiday, so there another reason to not vote Democrat.

It is odd how much approval Øbama’s 2 percent cut gets, where Bush wanted that same 2 percent to go into an individual tax sheltered investment account and was ostracized for making such a obscene recommendation.

Dasher on February 16, 2012 at 10:21 AM

So we can count you as voting for Newt in the primary??

astonerii on February 16, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Are you concluding something here I don’t know about? Newt says things like “Rich people put their wealth in offshore tax shelters, hide their money in swiss accounts..etc.” He hasn’t recanted on those items, so I know it is “all about Newt winning”

Newt was sleeping with Callista and prosecuting Clinton for perjury that looked like sex to the average idiot.

Nope, no more Newt. I believed him before the curt got stuck back in the middle of his forehead. Big Ego, it’s all about him, give me someone more humble.

Fleuries on February 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Correct please: “Curl stuck in the middle of his forehead.”

A reference to being horrid.

Fleuries on February 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

True conservative, Sarah Palin kinda sorta endorsed the Payroll tax cut yesterday on Fox. She said, “Anytime people have more money in their paychecks and less goes to Washington, that’s a good thing”.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM

The GOP has made it very, very clear that they don’t actually need the Conservative vote. They merely trade on our dislike for the Democrat label and thus rightly discern that we will go along with the GOP label. And we go along with it because it’s easier to maintain our expectations of the GOP than to face its realities: it IS the Left. . . in drag. I have completely lost faith in the Republican leadership. They don’t take the Democrats to task for failing to propose a budget, they give Holder a pass on Fast and Furious, and roll over for unconstitutional recess appointments. I’m disgusted with them

Gort on February 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I’m all for the payroll tax cut. I’m going to peg the needle and go for a 100% payroll tax cut.

Really, are our Republican leaders are so stupid that they can’t figure out that this is an excellent opportunity to school Mr. Obama big time? If a small payroll tax cut is good, then wouldn’t a really big payroll tax cut be even better?

In fact, given that Social Security is a big Ponzi Scheme whose pot is due to run out in 2022 (according to our President’s new budget), it’s time we bit the bullet and took our losses home, so to speak.

Imagine a whole generation able to choose the retirement plan of their choice…

Sadly, us oldsters would suffer (in a bit more than a year, I will probably be getting my first SS check), but our children will do so much better with this monstrous entitlement debt monkey off their backs.

After all, since Mr. Warren Buffet feels for us so badly, maybe he will ante up the full cost of our healthcare — the stuff we could have taken care of ourselves if we hadn’t been hornswoggled by the Government all these years…

unclesmrgol on February 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM

But one thing never escapes my mind….550 or so people are responsible for the mess we are in…
Deficits, taxes, energy, unemployment, budget, monetary, all because 550 people want it that way…

right2bright on February 16, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Actually, 535 members make up Congress. But I’ve been saying this for years. Corruption is rampant. If what the American people can see, can you imagine what is hidden?

For starters, we can find out first which Dems voted for Obamacare and support Conservative Candidates that are running against them. The only thing we have is our Vote.

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Scott H
Probably because you ask stupid questions like “How does electing more Conservatives help”, lol.

xblade on February 16, 2012 at 5:00 AM

In order for you to make that comment shows that you haven’t followed the comments that were made last evening. You may want to do that before you make a stupid comment.

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

SSDD
I wish I knew why conservative orgs and PACs haven’t been all over the airwaves (those that will allow them) with the message that the “payroll tax cut” is a dangerous fiscal ruse. It really is a simple equation.
It’s just one more bait and switch by the Ø’trauma thugs to garner all of the votes of their psychophants (yes, i know) and the stupid among us.
The entitlement generation(s) are going to screw over their own children.
I hope they’re happy. Some day those gubmint checks are gonna stop coming.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 16, 2012 at 7:17 AM

You would never know that we had an RNC or that there were any Republicans in Congress at all. Boehner comes out with a stupid one sentence & McConnell the same. By their votes since the House was given the Majority, you would never know that.

This is not a tax cut, but have the R’s called it what it actually is? If so, I certainly haven’t heard it. Pitiful performance by them.

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

bflat879 on February 16, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Yes, they fear Newt more than they do Obama. They don’t fear the voters either. I hope that will change soon.

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

and sorry folks the silent Tea Party we sent to congress in 2010……where are they in these battles?

PappyD61 on February 16, 2012 at 7:36 AM

I made a comment on this thread last night. They have been battered by Speaker Boehner and Bachmann. A few had the courage to vote for the Cut/Cap/Balance, but not enough. Until we have a change in leadership in the House & Senate and more to resist the leadership, there won’t be any change.

Oh, and vote out the members that are TPINO’s. Tea Party In Name Only.

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Newt, you are our only real hope this Election.

astonerii on February 16, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I agree. Newt is the only fighter. If Newt had been Speaker instead of Boehner it would have been a whole different story!!

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:14 PM

And, by the way, stupid Rick Santorum on the record as opposed to contraception, isn’t likely to be an effective persuader.

aloysiusmiller on February 16, 2012 at 8:53 AM

He was expressing his own personal opinion, not a Policy that he would promote if elected. Just to be clear, I’m a Newt supporter. I appreciate fair play though.

You do have a point on the Conservative issue. We don’t have elected Congress members promoting Conservatism because most Republicans don’t like it. The Tea Party and other Conservatives do, but it’s an uphill battle.

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Oops, I was trying to say that my teachers get the credit.

Next time I think I will preview.

Freed0m28 on February 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Even that hasn’t helped me a couple of times, LOL

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I’m disgusted with them

Gort on February 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

You are not alone, believe me. We only have a handful of House and Senate members that are worth anything. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d even sacrifice them to remove all 535 members of Congress and start over, LOL
I’d re-elect those few though:-)

bluefox on February 16, 2012 at 1:36 PM

That picture reminds me of a law enforcement line-up. Can you pick out the biggest liar?

johnny reb on February 16, 2012 at 1:57 PM

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