Archive for Wednesday, December 21, 2011

House rejects 2-month payroll tax cut

December 21, 2011


— Congress lurched toward Grinch-like gridlock on Tuesday as the Republican-controlled House rejected a two-month extension of Social Security tax cuts that President Barack Obama said was “the only viable way” to prevent a drop in take-home pay for 160 million workers on Jan. 1.

“The clock is ticking; time is running out,” Obama said shortly after House voted 229-193 to request negotiations with the Senate on renewing the payroll tax cuts for a year.

House Speaker John Boehner, told that Obama had sought his help, replied, “I need the president to help out.” His voice rose as he said it, and his words were cheered by dozens of Republicans lawmakers who have pushed him and the rest of the leadership to pursue a more confrontational strategy with Democrats and the White House in an already contentious year of divided government.

This time, it wasn’t a partial government shutdown or even an unprecedented Treasury default that was at stake, but the prospect that payroll taxes would rise and long-term unemployment benefits end for millions of jobless victims of the worst recession since the 1930s.

Yet another deadline has been entangled in the dispute, this one affecting seniors, but the administration announced it had finessed a way around it. Officials said paperwork for doctors who treat Medicare patients in the early days of the new year will not be processed until Jan. 18, giving lawmakers more time to avert a 27 percent cut in fees threatened for Jan. 1.

Whatever the stakes, there was little indication that Republicans would get their wish for negotiations with the Senate any time soon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a statement saying he would be happy to resume talks on a yearlong measure — “but not before” the House ratifies the two-month bill and sends it to Obama for his signature.

Given Obama’s remarks and Reid’s refusal to negotiate, it was unclear what leverage Republicans had in the year-end standoff. It appeared likely the partisan disagreement could easily persist past Christmas and into the last week of the year.

The standoff was sowing confusion in business, running out of days to adapt to any new payroll tax regimen. Even the Senate’s proposed two-month extension was creating headaches because it contained a two-tiered system geared to ensuring that higher-income earners paid a higher rate on some of their wages, according to a trade group.

Democrats pounced on Republicans for rejecting the Senate bill, emboldened by polls finding Obama’s approval rising and that of the congressional Republicans fading. They noted that several lawmakers whom Boehner appointed to negotiate a compromise had recently criticized an extension of payroll tax cuts.


Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

Kansas will do what it always does; either vote Republican or stay away from the polls.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

Republicans were supporting a $1,000 tax dollar increase to the middle class.....

If this money were invested in a 20 year program of creating new industry,repairing the nations Interstate highway system and increasing wages to public school teachers I just might go for it.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

Kansas won't change. What will change are battleground states like Wisconsin and Michigan. The GOP got those states by the skin of their teeth to begin with (thanks in large part to the Kochs and Stayer families) and since then have proceeded to p*** off the general population. The Wisconsin recall of Walker is going apace. Two thirds of the necessary signatures for recall have already been obtained and there's still four weeks to go in a tight timeline that many thought would be impossible to meet. This is despite multiple dirty tricks perpetrated by the Walker camp, including some attempted gerrymandering. Many people believe that if Wisconsin is successful in their recall that Michigan will be next. What I find interesting is that, historically, in the last Great Depression (don't think we aren't in one; the only thing we lack is the massive deflation) Kansas was the political opposite of what we are now. In fact, the state came very near to being socialist. Much of that had to do with the Dust Bowl and the impact on small farmers. Which leads me to believe that a lot of the state's current political climate has to do with three things: the influence of the Kochs, the religious right and the consolidation of small farms into huge agribusiness farms. I'm sure there are other factors and I could be wrong but it's my opinion.

drake 6 years, 4 months ago

The House already passed the tax cut extension last week. The Democrats in the Senate refuse to sit down and negotiate and have gone home. Real Americans can see through this charade.

drake 6 years, 4 months ago

No, I mean the House passed a bill last week that would have extended the cuts for another year. The Senate is only interested in extending it for 2 months.

The Democrats and Obama see this as an opportunity to make the House look bad and are willing to raise taxes in an effort to improve their poll numbers.

drake 6 years, 4 months ago

From what I understand it was to just kick the can down the road for 2 months so that they could get out of town for the holidays. They (including the Senate Republicans) just thought that the House would go along with it and take the matter up after the new year. I say bring the Senate back into session until their work is complete.

drake 6 years, 4 months ago

Maybe when looking through your tinted shades.

Fossick 6 years, 4 months ago

It's funny. If the tax cut passes, then the GOP is de-funding Social Security. If it doesn't pass, then they are raising taxes on the middle class.

I'm all for cutting the tax, so long as the amount people are not paying in SocSec is deducted from their promised benefits. Everyone wants something for nothing, so around the drain we swirl.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

This is a misleading article.

The House Republicans wanted to extend the payroll cuts for a full year, rather than 2 months.

I'm not sure why they're fighting about this one, actually - anybody have any ideas?

Fossick 6 years, 4 months ago

Because there are spending cuts in the House version, as well as new rules concerning long-term unemployment benefits, both of which are opposed by the Senate.

In short, if it were only the SocSec tax cut, it would have passed, but both sides added other stuff, then pretended the argument is about what they both agree on.

cowboy 6 years, 4 months ago

i will gladly pay the additional tax ...if come election day the nation votes every incumbent republican out of office.

Stephen Roberts 6 years, 4 months ago

I will gladly pay the increased tax if the nation votes every incumbent democrat out of office.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Reminds me of the National Lampoon magazine cover with a gun pointed at a dog's head, and the caption saying "Buy this magazine or the dog gets it!!!"

Just replace the dog with American workers, and put the gun in the hands of the House Republicans.

Blessed4x 6 years, 4 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Republicans and a few Dems pass a year long extension in both the house AND the senate. Selective reporting is selective. We wouldn't want to be bothered with the facts, now would we?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

With whom should the "house teapubs" compromise. The Senate has left town.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

Last time I checked, passage in both chambers was necessary. Maybe the Senate should have waited for whatever action the House decided upon before leaving town.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

So the "teapubs" did agree to the compromise and credit is given to Obama and Senate Democrats. Got it.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

Teapubs, I can understand. But "boner"??? I'm picturing a 13 year old giggling at a word that sounds like....
If you are indeed that 13 year old, then you're making an age appropriate response. If by chance you're slightly older than 13 yet still giggling at the suggestion, then grow up.

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm surprised! Cato the Elder and other right-wing nuts are not weighing in on this news story. I wonder why?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 4 months ago

Didja notice that ths story in the print version of this newsrag was buried in the middle of the edition on page 7? I guess the Republican teapotters who own this paper are really proud of the behavior of the tea-lag idiots that were voted in by the clueless voters who were flummoxed by the Palinists (what happened to her?) and other facists that established this headless movement.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

Nazis? Godwin? Where? I don't see any nNzis. Do you see any Nazis? Wait! Is that Hitler over there? Nope...just my imagination I guess.

Fossick 6 years, 4 months ago

Dude misspells fascists exactly the same as Merrill does. It's weird.

Fossick 6 years, 4 months ago

And that's the irony. Fascism, like Naziism, is inherently authoritarian. It demands a leader (what Hitler called "The Fuhrer Principle") and in fact does not really exist without that principle. Which is why when you got down to brass tacks, the Nazi Party was Hitler and the Fascist Party was Mussolini. To the extent that the parties had policies, those policies were defined by the leader of the party, who demanded absolute obedience. A "headless movement" - Yeoman2's description - like the Tea Party cannot be Fascist, because Fascism demands a head.

It seems that Yeoman2 uses "facists" (sic) to mean simply "people whom I find scary." So perhaps it's not a Godwin at all, but a cry for a bottle and a binkie.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Fascism has been defined variously, and "the Führer Principle" is certainly a major component of the German and Italian (and Spanish) models under Hitler and Mussolini (and Franco.)

But it's also commonly defined as a merger between aristocracy/business/corporate interests and the government. As such, it well defines what has become modern Republicanism (and their DLC/Republican-lite counterparts.)

The Teaparty movement is mostly just mad as hell, about everything in general and nothing in particular, but by no means fascist-- yet. Under the right (or wrong?) circumstances they most certainly are ripe for the picking for the right charismatic leader (presumably coming from the Republican Party) who can fully implement "the Führer Principle"

Armstrong 6 years, 4 months ago

Is passing stop ga,p last minute legislation really the way to run a country ? Surely thesse gutless wonders can pas something meaningful that would last past election time.

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

I will gladly pay the tax, if they get rid of Bush's tax cuts too. Let's go back to the tax rates of the 80's. You know, the Reagan era.

verity 6 years, 4 months ago

Why are we so stupid as to keep electing the people who spend the most money? Has this ever brought us representatives in government who actually care for us rather than the money they receive to win the next election---and to feather their own nests?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

Hahaha!! Just ran into this little gem. :) ‎"The baby Jesus was the last homeless person the Republicans liked." - Andy Borowitz

verity 6 years, 4 months ago

Not to make too fine a point, but do many of the current Republicans actually like Jesus?

drake 6 years, 4 months ago

I've seen this posted all around so I have no idea who to credit. These are the actual budget numbers from the fiscal year that just ended: The budget explained in simple English: I love it when complex things are simplified so that we all can understand.

United States Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000 Fed Budget: $3,820,000,000,000 New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000 National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000 Recent Budget Cut: $38,500,000,000

Now, remove eight zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

                     Annual Family Income: $21,700
                 Money The Family Spent: $38,200
         New Debt on the Credit Card: $16,500

Outstanding Balance on Credit Card: $142,710

Total budget cuts which some politicians are proud of: $385

Armstrong 6 years, 4 months ago

That was a common thought many third world countries had. Didn't work out so well. Why are we constantly trying proven failures to fix our economic issues. Barack any thoughts ?

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

Here is the problem with all of this - we cannot afford it. What the Democrats want is a major tax increase on the 53% of us that pay federal taxes to pay for these goodies and a whole lot more. See the impact at:

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

And there job is to give you money paid fro by somebody else??

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

atiopatioo (anonymous) replies… Both parties and the President are trying to get kudos for giving our money back that they took from us.

Moderte Comments: Payroll taxes buy a retirement annuity and a medical plan at retirement. They really do not contribute to the operation of the federal governmenmt except as a pool of money that costs the feds nothing to borrow against.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

If this comes to pass that this tax goes back up while the "temporary" tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthiest among us stay in place, it will reflect poorly on the Republicans. It will appear that they care only for the wealthy.

Personally, I think all of the temporary tax cuts need to go away AND we need to cut spending. Eliminate the deficit and lower the debt. Time to pay for our wars and excesses.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

What makes you believe that now is not the new normal???

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

But will the teapartiers pull the rug out from under him again?

Armstrong 6 years, 4 months ago

I couldn't help but notice the die hard "It's Bushco's faul't ". I guess next year we can whine about how this was all ex-president Obama & CO's fault. Nice ring to it.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Can't fault anyone for this one. Things are dire any way you slice it.

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