Friday, December 23, 2011

Turn of Phrase - GOP Caves and Agrees to Extend Payroll Tax Cuts

"It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world."

- House Speaker John Boehner, commenting on the the initial decision of House Republicans to oppose legislation that would extend existing payroll tax cuts for two-months and enable additional Congressional negotiation of the issue.

After overwhelming negative public response and pressure from both Democrats and Senate Republicans, House Republicans have reversed field and indicated they will pass the stop-gap proposal that passed the Senate by an 89-10 margin.

Resistance from the Tea Party element of the Republican party held the bill up for several days and threatened the continuity of payroll tax relief for 160 million workers, as well as the extension of unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans without jobs.

From a political perspective, the Congressional struggle to pass legislation that almost everyone agrees on perpetuates the general image of Washington dysfunction. More importantly, with the 2012 election season already underway, the incident ironically appears to leave Republicans taking their typical obstructionist position while President Obama fights for tax cuts.

The incident revealed a deep divide among Republicans, and the absence of a clear consistent position on the bill highlighted the lack of cohesive leadership within the party. Republican failure to support the bill initially, followed by their subsequent reversal of policy, made the party look petty, weak, and disorganized. It looks as though Speaker Boehner, who is known for his propensity for easy weeping, may finally have something to cry about.

Related Post: Republican Tax Cut Rejection Paves Way for Obama

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