Tuesday, December 13, 2011

House approves payroll tax extension with appropriate terms (UPDATE)

This evening, the House leveraged the passage of Obama's payroll tax extension with the necessary terms of appropriately paying for it, as well as expediting a positive decision on the Keystone pipeline.  And once again, it comes down to Reid and the Democrats in the Senate, as well as threats of a presidential veto from Obama, standing in the way of legislative progress and actual compromise, with of course Republicans typically cast as the media-villains who are obstructing the process.  When will this tired, old narrative ever end?

The latest battle involves the payroll tax extension converging with another damn omnibus spending bill, and again, because it's not exactly as the President prescribes, Senate Democrats are ready to hold it up, setting up another exhaustive scenario that thus far hasn't faired well for the Republican leadership: whether they'll stand their ground or roll over and cave to Democrat (and media) pressure.  The Hill reports (and keep in mind while reading, this is a compromise to Obama's payroll tax extension that instead of raiding Social Security and Medicare contributions attempts to pay for by rolling back exorbitant Obama policy spending, namely Obamacare):

House Republicans easily approved a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut over a presidential veto threat Tuesday, setting up a confrontation with the White House and Senate Democrats.

The 234-193 vote throws the GOP year-end package into the Senate’s lap, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to reject it over a number of provisions that Democrats find unacceptable.

As the legislative calendar winds down its final days, a $1,000 tax bill for the average family, insurance benefits for the jobless and the operations of the federal government all hang in the balance.

Republican leaders used the House vote to pressure the Senate and Obama, denouncing the president for threatening a veto on a bill that includes two central elements of his jobs plan — the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

The administration’s veto threat referenced provisions that Republicans use to pay for the bill, including the repeal of funding for the 2010 healthcare law and measures that, the White House said, broke a spending agreement hatched this summer during the debt-limit deal. Obama has previously threatened to reject the GOP bill over the inclusion of a measure forcing the administration to expedite a decision on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Highlighting the confrontation with Obama over the Keystone pipeline, Boehner has been able to win over conservatives who were initially opposed to the president’s push to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits. In addition to the Keystone provision, Republicans included measures delaying environmental regulations, limiting the duration of jobless benefits and restricting benefits for illegal immigrants, among other sweeteners. They proposed to offset the cost of the bill in part by extending a federal-worker pay freeze and reducing certain Medicare benefits for the wealthy.

As Mark Levin described tonight, "Here you have the House Republicans passing a bill that would give more money to the American people, create more American jobs involving an oil pipeline from Canada, and Harry Reid and Obama want to destroy the bill because it doesn't fit into their class warfare propaganda."

For the umpteenth time, it's so obvious that the Democrat political elite in Washington is truly uncompromising.  The sooner the Republican leadership wises up to that, the stronger they will be.  And they shouldn't allow another threat of a government shutdown to shake their resolve either, but we know how that's gone from earlier legislative battles this year as well.

UPDATE: Wow...might Obama actually be willing to cave on that veto threat over the Keystone pipeline provision?  So goes the rumor...but I'll believe it when I see it.

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