Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Republican Tax Cut Rejection Paves Way for Obama

Republican House Speaker - John Boehner
House Republicans jeopardized an extension of the payroll tax that expires on January 1 by rejecting a bipartisan proposal that passed the Senate with an overwhelming 89-10 vote.

These rebel Republicans have risked doing real world harm by potentially increasing taxes on 160 million Americans, and they have damaged themselves politically, putting the President in position to take a strong but reasonable stance against them.

The proposal sent from the Senate to the House is far from perfect but it buys time for further negotiation,  guaranteeing for the next two months the uninterrupted continuation of a payroll tax break that currently leaves an extra $1,000 per year in the bank accounts of average taxpayers.

In rejecting the Senate proposal, House Republicans demonstrate ongoing and unpopular legislative obstructionism and they further perceptions of general Congressional impotence. Their failed leadership has fostered the creation of a political morass, but it has left us with a few clear conclusions.
  1. Even when almost everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees something is right for the country, Republicans will still oppose it if they think it complicates things for the President. 
  2. If there was uncertainty about the dysfunction that exists within the Republican party, the total absence of coordination shown between House and Senate Republicans should remove any doubt.
  3. Democrats HAVE negotiated the current proposal in good faith by:
    • Dropping from the bill their original plan to pay for the tax cut extension by adding a 1.9% surtax to millionaire incomes
    • Adding to the bill the "fast tracking" of the Keystone Pipeline (which Republicans support but the President strongly opposes)
  4. Republicans will sell the organs of their elderly mothers to protect or even add new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, but they won't accept a reasonable proposal to extend tax cuts that already exist and benefit 160 million Americans, most of whom are solid middle class citizens.
  5. House Republicans have ceded important political ground to President Obama, who can now begin the 2012 election year by showing Americans his commitment to fighting for middle class tax cuts and opposing this do-nothing Congress that sports the worst approval ratings in history.
Turning the extension of the payroll tax cuts into a slippery political football is a huge misstep on the part of Congressional Republicans, and the Democrats will most certainly use this incident to their advantage in the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.

Related Post: Obama Taunts Republicans Over Payroll Tax Cut

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