House passes payroll tax cut deal

posted at 12:45 pm on February 17, 2012 by Tina Korbe

After House Republicans caved in negotiations earlier this week, this should come as no surprise to anyone: By a bipartisan majority of 293 to 132, the House today passed a deal to offer workers an unfunded payroll tax cut, to extend unemployment benefits and to prevent cuts in Medicare payments to health care providers. The 270-page measure attracted support from 146 Republicans and 147 Democrats. Maryland Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen voted against it because it also includes a provision to increase federal workers’ pension contributions.

Now, it heads to the Senate, where it’s also expected to pass, but has less overwhelming support. The three Republican senators who engaged in negotiations, for example, are still upset that the cost of the extension will not be offset elsewhere (as they should be!). The two Maryland Democratic senators will support it, though — at the request of the president, who made a personal call to each of them from Air Force One.

Don’t be fooled that this signifies the beginning of a new bipartisan, harmonious era in Congress, though:

But I doubt that pragmatism is going to be the highlight of this election-year session. On the contrary, the proposed payroll tax cut deal happened because the two camps finally recognized that their ideologies were aligned. Republicans like to cut taxes, and Democrats like to portray themselves as the champions of working families. If the issue were whether to cut the tax on estates or investment income, the outcome would probably have been quite different.

The ideological split between much of the House GOP and most Senate Democrats over governing in general is likely to make the rest of the session feel as contentious and unproductive as last year’s. A good example is the pending surface transportation bill. The House version is animated by the GOP argument that Problem No. 1 is the deficit and Problem No. 2 is excessive federal regulation (in this case, on domestic energy production). The bipartisan Senate version reflects two very different priorities: putting as many people to work and spending as much on infrastructure as possible.

This deal is politics at its worst — an irresponsible plan that adds to the deficit, accomplishes little and aims mainly to cast Congress and the president in as sympathetic a light as possible. We’re supposed to think: They passed a middle class tax cut! Aren’t they just great? If you’re a millennial like me, you better stuff the money you see through this tax cut in a retirement fund because Social Security won’t be around when we reach retirement age.


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Time to Shine, GOP!

portlandon on February 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

If the GOP goal is to show they are no different then the democrats and continue to push more people from their party then they are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams. If not they might want to stop pushing these government spending programs.

JeffinSac on February 17, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Don’t worry so much, conservatard wing dings, the new generation of currency printing-presses are engineered to run at super high speed for months at a time.

Bishop on February 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM

We are all idiots today! Hip Hip Hooray.

I am pretty sure Boehner and McConnell are the Cowardly Lion and Benedict Arnold in disguise.

Marcus Traianus on February 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Sweet. I get to continue to work so that others can still receive unemployment benefits. That is definitely Charlie Sheen-like winning for me.

cyclown on February 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Perhaps you would have rather them take it to the brink again when the Senate and the President have absolutely no motivation to come to the table.

What you seem to see naively as “Caving” I see as the GOP finally wising up to political reality. They squandered their political capital during the debt ceiling debate and at this point brinksmanship only hurts them with everyone except the the very base of the base…

Critic2029 on February 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM

WAY to go gutless house! And I imagine WAY to go gutless senate! Sure makes one want to go vote and give money to slugs who are scared of their own shadow that the bhopress will say something nasty about them? How your long week-end sucks because the US sure is under your voting!
L

letget on February 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM

letget s/b Hope not How
L

letget on February 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

If you’re a millennial like me, you better stuff the money you see through this tax cut in a retirement fund because Social Security won’t be around when we reach retirement age.

Hell, if you’re a baby boomer, it probably won’t be around either.

TXUS on February 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

“Maryland Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen voted against it because it also includes a provision to increase federal workers’ pension contributions because they want to raise taxes on the middle class!”

forest on February 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Why haven’t they slumped onto the ground like ooze? They clearly have no spine.

nobar on February 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

That’s very funny. Everyone knows Social Security is a ponzi scheme which is not going to be around. Then why should be we paying more into it?

And unfunded tax cuts? What is that? Everyone also knows tax cuts pay for themselves! In any case, it’s my money; what is there to fund?

rightistliberal on February 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I’m sorry, Tina, but if you think letting people keep more of what they earn is ever a bad policy, you’re dead wrong. We should be cutting government spending, not complaining that we’re not funding entitlements that aren’t sustainable in the first place.

Caiwyn on February 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

You can blame Republican House Speaker John Boehner for this nasty bill, because he’s the spineless squish who allowed the debt ceiling to be raised in the first place. If the Treasury can’t borrow an infinite amount of money, then spending and revenues have to match up.

Emperor Norton on February 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

What about the wind farm tax credit deal? Did the cut survive?

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

an irresponsible plan that adds to the deficit, accomplishes little and aims mainly to cast Congress and the president in as sympathetic a light as possible.

In other words, business as usual.

kunegetikos on February 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I’m for anything that will collapse the SS Ponzi scheme sooner than later. Too bad it won’t collapse in October.

Robert Jensen on February 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

We were damned if we do damned if we don’t on this one.

sandee on February 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Hello pre-election debt ceiling fight!

Chuck Schick on February 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Another cave in. The Republican leadership must be replaced. They are NOT doing their job! What a bunch of losers!

GFW on February 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM

DUMB to make more debt. Just DUMB.

TX-96 on February 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM

I guess it’s far more important to worry about getting re-elected than to do what is right! I’m glad my congressman voted no!

GFW on February 17, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I’m for anything that will collapse the SS Ponzi scheme sooner than later. Too bad it won’t collapse in October.

Robert Jensen on February 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I’m hearing that SS won’t collapse by then… but that we’ll hit the debt ceiling by September, if not before.

teke184 on February 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM

We were damned if we do damned if we don’t on this one.

sandee on February 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

True but it stings more than a little to see the continuation of bad public policy.

Happy Nomad on February 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM

If you’re a millennial like me, you better stuff the money you see through this tax cut in a retirement fund because Social Security won’t be around when we reach retirement age.

Seems like a prudent plan, until the day comes that they pass legislation that confiscates retirement funds in the name of you doing your part for the nation’s fiscal stability. Just as you’re right to not count on Social Security, you’d also be right to not count on the ruling class leaving your private property (i.e. a retirement fund) alone.

86 on February 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Remind me again why I am supposed to be proud to have an R after my name.

Bmore on February 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

What tune are the fiddling while Rome burns?

Watch out, you might get what you’re after
Cool babies, strange but not a stranger
I’m an ordinary guy
Burning down the House

NoDonkey on February 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Hey everybody, it is dumb to add debt and we and our GOP reps know it. Until we get the senate that won’t change. Accept it for now and vote correctly in November. Let the demedia romp while the economy does the opposite of what they tell us.

Gienthner admitted they are budgeting our decimation yesterday, it will sink in.

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I can’t wait for the fall campaign ads in every GOP district: the GOP voted to underfund your Social Security.

BuckeyeSam on February 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Now, it heads to the Senate, where it’s also expected to pass

I contacted my senator, Al “Rape Joke” Franken; I hate to break it to everyone but I don’t think we can count on his support.

Bishop on February 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Don’t worry so much, conservatard wing dings, the new generation of currency printing-presses are engineered to run at super high speed for months at a time.

Bishop on February 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Then we are in real trouble…

Goverment Loses Money Minting Money

WashJeff on February 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

We are all idiots today! Hip Hip Hooray.

I am pretty sure Boehner and McConnell are the Cowardly Lion and Benedict Arnold in disguise.

Marcus Traianus on February 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Why are you being so nice! They are pieces of shi…wait!…POS!

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

rightistliberal on February 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

The $40 a month should go into a private retirement account. (See Chile’s private pension system.)

Fallon on February 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Remind me again why I am supposed to be proud to have an R after my name.

Bmore on February 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Retard?

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM

What tune are the fiddling while Rome burns?

NoDonkey on February 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Oooooo…that could be an entire thread on its own.

I choose “Mob Rules” by Black Sabbath.

Either that or the theme to The Benny Hill Show.

Bishop on February 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I am sure both sides were hearing from their constituents that times are still so dire, they cannot face their paycheck getting smaller.

No one can.

The only way to get this tax down is to reform Social Security.

I don’t blame the republican leadership, but I want to hear how we are going to fix it, and how we are going to win the Senate and keep the House, and win the presidency.

Don’t eat your own between now and November.

Fleuries on February 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

So the Socialists in the National Democratic Party are now in favor of Downgrading and destroying the Social Security system.

How long before we see an ad with President Downgrade pushing grandma over cliff?

Chip on February 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Hello pre-election debt ceiling fight!

Chuck Schick on February 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM

CAVE before the FALL?

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Hell, if you’re a baby boomer, it probably won’t be around either.

Yeah, I’m a boomer, and only do I believe SS won’t be around come the retirement time, I’m thinking what’s in my 401(k) probably won’t be around either, along with anything else I have in savings and investments, other than my gun and bible.

hawkeye54 on February 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Retard?

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Apparently. Or at least not very smart.

Bmore on February 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Maryland Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen voted against it because it also includes a provision to increase federal workers’ pension contributions.

“How dare we increase the pension contributions of the one sector doing quite well in this otherwise miserable economy — unionized federal workers!!” — Hoyer/Van Hollen

Bitter Clinger on February 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Bishop on February 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I’ll go with Sabbath.

Bmore on February 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Go into the weekend with a little optimism. Look down the road to this time next year. A huge amount of dollars can be saved once we start producing more of our own energy, throttling back the regulations that are being heaped on us will be occurring, there are so many ways to get our economy going again without the current stasis in place. Even though federal debt is high, I have a hunch personal and corporate debt is very low.

We are poised for a huge jump with a regime change and a few more conservatives. Let’s work to preserve our liberty. It can happen. Go buy Ameritopia and get your priorities in order, we’ll take it back.

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Bishop on February 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I’ll go with Sabbath.

Bmore on February 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Or this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmVAWKfJ4Go

Bmore on February 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

And the best part ??????
They get to take ALL the blame for PASSING UNFUNDED increases to the budget deficit- Its the Republicans fault for the debt !!!!!
and the Rs will whine about raising the debt ceiling later this year?
Its their fault…. they keep passing these turds.
.
We need something sorta like a PAYGO ~!!!

FlaMurph on February 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

100% chance Santorum would vote for this if he hadn’t lost his last election by 700,000 votes.

EddieC on February 17, 2012 at 1:22 PM

After House Republicans caved in negotiations earlier this week

You mean the GOP acted prudently after the Cantor-led revolt turned into a total and complete mockery of the party’s standing with independents and many it its own party the last time this issue came up.

Yeah, I’m a boomer, and only do I believe SS won’t be around come the retirement time, I’m thinking what’s in my 401(k) probably won’t be around either, along with anything else I have in savings and investments, other than my gun and bible.

hawkeye54 on February 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Social security will be around, but the retirement age will be higher and benefits may be lower. You’d better save accordingly.

bayam on February 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Where are the details on the increase in the federal worker’s pension contributions???

How did we slip that one thru?

I want a federal hiring freeze NOW.

Fleuries on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

100% chance Santorum would vote for this if he hadn’t lost his last election by 700,000 votes.

EddieC on February 17, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Yep, but I am sure Romney would have as well.

SouthernGent on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Don’t eat your own between now and November.

Fleuries on February 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

This!

We need something sorta like a PAYGO ~!!!

FlaMurph on February 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

think true balanced budget amendment, it can happen within this or the next cycle

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM

If the Republicans would explain where the funding for Social Security comes from and then tell the Boomers that are close to retirement that they are sol, then maybe we could move some reforms forward.

Vince on February 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Fleuries on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

I believe this means the federal employees have to contribute more. Somebody know otherwise?

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Yep, but I am sure Romney would have as well.

SouthernGent on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

He would have tried to pay for it with additional “fees”.

EddieC on February 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Perhaps you would have rather them take it to the brink again when the Senate and the President have absolutely no motivation to come to the table.

What you seem to see naively as “Caving” I see as the GOP finally wising up to political reality. They squandered their political capital during the debt ceiling debate and at this point brinksmanship only hurts them with everyone except the the very base of the base…

Critic2029 on February 17, 2012 at 12:51 PMT

The sad reality is that the power of the GOP and Boehner was at its peak last year when Obama was forced to negotiate with House Republicans over the deficit. And even more sad is the fact that most Tea Party fans (esp here at Hotair) were foolish enough to believe that Bohner’s “grand bargain” was somehow inadequate, even when it matched the expiration of Bush tax cuts (will happen anyway) with significant and real entitlement reform. Boehner the experienced business man had negotiated Obama into accepting the entitlement spending cuts this country so badly needs.

In pools, the right wing Tea Party base is supported by about 20% of the electorate. It was incredible folly to turn against Boehner and not accept his grand bargain. You wonder why entitlement spending hasn’t been cut? Look in the mirror.

bayam on February 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Vince on February 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Right now SS pays about $1,200/month single and about $1,800 for a couple. It won’t be adjusted to keep up with inflation. If you’re counting on that as your sole source you may have bigger problems than you know. It’s broke and we’ve known it would be since they opened it to the general fund in 1969. Our best course is to grow the economy, reduce debt and hold off inflation.

And stay friendly with your family.

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

It was incredible folly to turn against Boehner and not accept his grand bargain. You wonder why entitlement spending hasn’t been cut? Look in the mirror.

bayam on February 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

The senate had already broke for recess when Boehner did that didn’t it? That ship has sailed. Look at the rocks ahead.

DanMan on February 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Time to get rid of Boehner if favor of a real conservative…

voiceofreason on February 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Fleuries on February 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Federal workers hired after Jan. 31, 2012, would be required to contribute 2.3 percent more of their salaries toward their defined benefit pensions, bringing the total contribution rate to 3.1 percent, according to the conference report.

On top of that federal pay is frozen through 2013. In short, federal workers are a convenient target but the real need is for entitlement reform which, of course, affects far people in every Congressional district.

Happy Nomad on February 17, 2012 at 1:38 PM

OT – can anyone get a screen cap of this – just in case it disappears:

WH website still touting pledge to halve deficit
http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/wh-website-still-touting-pledge-halve-deficit/380821

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/fiscal
Restoring Fiscal Discipline

The Administration took the initial steps to restore fiscal discipline by signing into law an economic recovery bill that is free of all earmarks and by launching Recovery.gov – an unprecedented effort to allow the public to track how and where recovery funds are actually used. To continue this progress, the Administration will:

Cut the deficit in half by the end of the President’s first term.

On January 20, 2009, the President inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit. The President has put forth a budget that will halve this deficit by the end of his first term, bring non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of GDP since 1962.

Colbyjack on February 17, 2012 at 1:41 PM

f you’re a millennial like me, you better stuff the money you see through this tax cut in a retirement fund because Social Security won’t be around when we reach retirement age.

Which is why they should cut it to 0 and be done with it.

The Social Security Privatization Act of 2012.

CJ on February 17, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Just want to summarize.

Conservative base in 2010: “Taxed enough already! Cut our taxes!”
Conservative base in 2012: “Don’t cut our taxes! We like high taxes!”

R.I.P. Tea Party, 2009-2012.

AngusMc on February 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Come on folks, can you not recognize the optics here. We fight tooth and nail to the death to make sure the people who need extra money in their pocket and tax breaks the least, every.single.day. Yet will whine, moan, and complain about caving cause our leadership didn’t also fight to the death to ensure that lower wage people who actually could use extra money in their pocket and a tax break don’t get it.

Here we are now with Tina and a few posters talking about how this is a loss of revenue and “unfunded” but will absolutely pitch a fit if you tried to say the same thing about high end tax cuts. “Who’s money do they think this is?!” and all that.

This is stupid. Roll with the punches. Fighting on this makes us looking clearly cold-hearted, unconcerned with the middle class, and only think that rich people deserve a tax break, the ones who need it the least. Give it up. Taxed Enough Already, right?

Or does that only apply to the wealthy? That regular folks don’t deserve to have a tax break, but indeed, rather a tax increase from what they’ve been contributing recently? Get your stories straight. Half of you are using the exact same rhetorical tactics to decry this action that you’d be ripping into and insulting people over if they tried to use them to oppose high end taxes increases.

“Unfunded?!?! ” Are you effing’ joking me? The government doesn’t spend for a tax break. It just stops taking some of the people’s money and when the debate over the Bush Tax cuts come up again you’ll be right back on the other side of the issue and giving people reasons to agree with the idea that we’re only the party of tax cuts for the rich. You actually NEED your weekly paycheck? Oh, we can’t do that. Giving you a tax break is a bad idea and we’re ready to oust our leadership for giving it to you.

Taxed Enough Already my ass.

Boomer_Sooner on February 17, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Right. Because this and unlimited unemployment benefits create jobs and stabilize an economy.

Our politicians are all fixing from the same needle.

CorporatePiggy on February 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Social Security’s bank account will go bust in 2022 — the first time the program’s combined trust funds will run a deficit, according to President Obama’s budget released Monday.

OBOZO can’t wait to get to the end of the lunatic-left d-cRAT socialists’ “Road to Hell” – i.e. Greece/california.

Please tell your clueless, ignorant friends (you know, the ones that swallow the lies and leftist propaganda from the soros-controlled d-cRAT stooges and puppets in the socialist media) the TRUTH that the payroll tax is the ONLY funding source for Social Security and that cutting the income from the tax without compensating spending cuts directly increases the national deficit and debt, as well as further bankrupting Social Security.

TeaPartyNation on February 17, 2012 at 2:20 PM

TeaPartyNation on February 17, 2012 at 2:20 PM

There you go, perfect example, “TeaPartyNation”, Taxed Enough Already nation now arguing for a tax increase on the middle class. For the love of god, be consistent folks.

Boomer_Sooner on February 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM

If you’re a millennial like me, you better stuff the money you see through this tax cut in a retirement fund because Social Security won’t be around when we reach retirement age.

Tina K.

And that is a problem because of what??? You don’t think you can do better with your money than the US Congress and the leftist dominated civil servants making decisions for you? This is the best thing that could ever happen to you if…..if…..if……you would be allowed to never have to pay into the SS again. (See how I did that…I used SS in place of Social Security…no National Socialist Party references intended or implied).

I’m not a Millennial…25 years past it….but I have accepted the fact that Congress has already spent my SS (There it is again…) funds and I will never see them. Not happy about it….but I’ve accepted it. Even if they print the money to pay me….what will it be worth?

oldroy on February 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

In all honesty, anything that can hasten the complete and utter failure of Social Security would be a godsend. It’s a “Madoff” scheme for those of you who don’t know what a Ponzi scheme is.

We pay in with today’s dollars. Congress spends our dollars and more. The Fed prints dollars. The dems allow illegals to work and pay into Social Security to keep it slightly afloat for just a few more years. Then Congress pays us with severely deflated dollars.

Bernie Madoff was an amateur compared to these people we keep electing.

oldroy on February 17, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Someone needs to shoot that elephant, walk up to it, kick it in the head, and shoot it again.

New blood is long past due in Washington.

madmonkphotog on February 17, 2012 at 3:48 PM

We were damned if we do damned if we don’t on this one.

sandee on February 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Sadly, yes. The only way to prevent this from happening all over again in the future is to win a bunch of elections in 2012.

Of course, that’s still no guarantee. But it will never happen any other way

tom on February 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM