More on the Payroll Tax Bill

As explained in he last post, House Republicans plan to reject a bill the Senate passed yesterday to extend the payroll tax cut and other things. CBS News:

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday that the bill – which includes the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and a halt to scheduled Medicare reimbursement cuts for doctors – needs to last an entire year. That was the original goal of President Barack Obama and congressional leaders as they worked on the legislation in recent weeks.

As if to suggest other changes he would like in the legislation, Boehner mentioned a provision that would block Obama administration anti-pollution rules and “reasonable reductions in spending” that were in a House-passed version of the payroll tax bill that the Senate ignored.

“It’s pretty clear I and our members oppose the Senate bill,” Boehner said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. He added, “I believe two months is just kicking the can down the road.”

House Republicans dislike the Senate bill for many reasons, including its lack of what they consider real spending cuts and its removal of restrictions on Obama administration rules. Others are unhappy about extending unemployment benefits or cutting the payroll tax, which is used to finance the Social Security system.

Here’s the punch line:

Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said when the House votes on the bill Monday, it would either formally request negotiations with the Senate or approve changes “so that it is responsible and in line with the needs of hard-working taxpayers and middle-class families.”

Some things parody themselves.

The Payroll Tax Bill and Other Crises

Yesterday there seemed to have been a deal, but today it’s falling apart. Let’s review — Congress is working on a bill that would —

  • Extend the payroll tax cut for two months. The President wants the payroll tax cut to stay in effect throughout 2012, which would save working taxpayers an average of $1,000.
  • Extend employment benefits for two months.
  • Approve the “doc fix” for two months. The “doc fix” is the annual vote to override cuts to Medicare reimbursement that were mandated by a law passed during the Clinton Administration. Every year since 2003 Congress has voted to defer the cuts, and if the eight years’ of cuts were to all go into effect at once, the reimbursement rate would be cut by 27 percent.

The Senate passed the bill by 89 to 10 yesterday. But now the House is planning to revolt.

In a private conference call on Saturday afternoon, rank-and-file House Republicans complained bitterly about the contents of the deal, which would extend through February the president’s Social Security tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. The sweetener of a provision requiring the president to expedite consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline wasn’t enough to offset the bitterness of a deal that gives the president two more months to pillory Republicans on a tax cut that is one of his most popular policies.

Before the conference call yesterday, House Speaker Boehner said he approved the Senate bill. Now he’s saying that Congress should stop kicking the can down the road and pass a bill for all of 2012. And yeah, they should do that. But of course, there’s going to be a catch. No House Republican can sleep at night before he’s done something to screw American workers.