Another shutdown looms: Are Dems/prex holding government hostage?
posted at 11:40 am on December 14, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Late on Tuesday the House of Representatives voted to extend the president’s payroll tax cuts. Not everyone in Washington is rejoicing, however. Neither are “disinterested” commentators outside the Beltway. Here’s the Washington Post (via Associated Press):
Defiant Republicans pushed legislation through the House Tuesday night that would keep alive Social Security payroll tax cuts for some 160 million Americans at President Barack Obama’s request—but also would require construction of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that has sparked a White House veto threat. [Emphasis added]
Passage, on a largely party-line vote of 234-193, sent the measure toward its certain demise in the Democratic-controlled Senate, triggering the final partisan showdown of a remarkably quarrelsome year of divided government.
So, the Republicans accede to the president’s request but are still somehow the bad guys because there are strings attached, in this case Obama’s signing off on the Keystone XL pipeline. Even if you accept opponents’ arithmetic—that the project will create 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, not 100,000 or more as supporters are claiming—it still reduces dependence on foreign oil. Besides, the bill contains other sweeteners, including another round of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
But nothing will stave off the measure’s “certain demise in the Democratic-controlled Senate,” whose leader, Harry Reid, dismissed the pipeline provision as “ideological candy” for the Tea Party set.
Oh, and did I neglect to mention that the government is facing another shutdown on Friday? With the two parties in Congress locked in a stalemate, Democrats, at the president’s urging, are holding up a $1 trillion omnibus bill to fund government for the balance of the fiscal year that began on October 1.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday:
We’ve got a bipartisan agreement on a number of appropriation bills, and the president presumably—in order to create some political issue, which I find difficult to understand—has instructed Democratic senators not to sign the conference report on a bill they support.
A question that naturally arises is when will the liberal-left media, not to mention Democratic leaders in Congress, declare that their own party and the president are holding the government hostage? That is what they did in April, when a governmental shutdown was looming because Republicans, in the words ofDemocratic Whip Steny Hoyer, refused “to compromise on their divisive social agenda.”
- The GOP payroll tax cut proposal as viewed by the party of gorilla dust
- Liberal news flash: GOP opposes Obama plan to cut taxes
- As government shutdown looms, Obama leaves DC—for campaign trail
- Obama ups ante on government shutdown; rejects GOP funding extension
- Jon Stewart: Obama has gone from “Yes, we can” to “You know, whatever” (Video)