Wait, House GOP Leaders who bashed the payroll tax holiday ... are now in love with it?

December 20, 2011


Wait, House Republican Leaders who bashed the payroll tax holiday just months ago are now so in love with it, nothing less than a full-year extension will do? 

Give the American people a break. 


Just How Serious Is Speaker Boehner About Extending It?  Judging By the 5 Anti-Payroll Tax Holiday Members He Tapped to “Confer” With the Senate, Not A Damn Bit


With the Clock Running Out for Middle-Class Families Facing a $1,000 Tax Hike, House GOP’s Rejection Today of Bipartisan Senate Payroll Tax Deal Confirms the American People’s Suspicions of a Deliberate GOP Effort to Sabotage the Economy for Political Gain


House Republicans today, United in a Charade


Washington DC – You almost have to admire the chutzpah of House Republicans who think they can spin their way out of this one.  After voting today to reject a bi-partisan Senate deal to extend the payroll tax holiday for 160 million Americans, there they were – with an average $1,000 tax hike on middle-class American families looming just 11 days away – packed together in a little room demanding that the U.S. Senate do a job they already did.  Casually dismissing the legislation passed overwhelmingly on Saturday with the support of 39 Republican Senators, Speaker John Boehner laid out the House GOP’s firm position of the moment: nothing less than a full-year extension will do.   It’s a funny thing though…


Never mind that the White House and Democratic leadership have been fighting for a year-long extension all along but have faced Republican roadblocks at every turn.  Never mind that the version that the House passed was designed to fail by loading it up with enough poison pills to kill to an elephant, like the cuts to Medicare benefits, or the part about 170,000 Americans having to forgo health coverage, or the part about denying 3.3 million struggling Americans unemployment benefits.


Such enthusiastic advocacy for the payroll tax holiday was just a funny thing to hear coming from the same guy who earlier this year derided the very idea of extending it and avoiding an $1,000 tax hike on middle-class families as a “Little Short-Term Gimmick.”       


It was also funny to see GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor nodding affirmingly next to Boehner, when only a few months ago, his official mouthpiece was scoffing: “Leader Cantor has long believed that there are better ways to grow the economy and create jobs than temporary payroll tax relief.”  


House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan didn’t mince words at all in September: [, 9/18/11] : Ryan said that even the payroll tax cut component of Obama's plan is a bad idea. "It hasn't worked, and especially when you're taking these temporary tax rebates and paying for them with permanent tax increases, that is actually self-defeating," he said. "So, we just don't want to go with ideas that have already proven to fail." 


It was a funny thing to see so many House Republicans happily huddled together at the press conference despite reports earlier this month of “Deep rifts” among them on the payroll tax holiday, “many arguing it shouldn't be done at all.”


Funnier still was the conclusion of the spintacular press conference when Boehner named his picks for a “proposed conference committee with the Senate to resolve differences between the House-passed one-year extension of the 2 percent payroll-tax cut and the Senate’s two-month extension,” including Kevin Brady of Texas, Dave Camp of Michigan, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Tom Price of Georgia, Tom Reed of New York. 


So just how serious is Speaker Boehner really about extending the payroll tax holiday?  Based on these picks, not a damn bit.


Here’s what Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) thinks about the payroll tax:  “I’m not as big of a fan of the payroll tax cuts… and the payroll tax cut, just like the other rebates, has had a marginal impact at best.”  [Bloomberg, 12/14/11]


How about Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)?  “I’m not in favor of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Camp said, calling the payroll tax holiday “piecemeal.”  [The Hill, 8/14/11]


Ok, what about Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)?:  “We don’t need more gimmicks.”  [NCNN, 11/30/11]


Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)?:   “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a good nugget from a rhetorical standpoint, for the class warfare that [President Obama] seems intent on fighting.” [NPR, 9/8/11]


Not Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), too : “REED CALLS DEMOCRATS’ TAX PLAN A THREAT TO SOCIAL SECURITY” [Reed Press Release, 12/3/11]


Hmmm.  Those don’t sound like folks very excited about seeing the payroll tax holiday extended for a day, let alone a year.


11 days to act.  If House Republicans continue play this childish game and continue to refuse to act on the bi-partisan Senate deal to prevent a $1,000 tax-hike on the middle-class amid a fragile economic recovery, the American people’s suspicions will once again be confirmed that the Party of No are deliberately and recklessly trying to sabotage the economy for political gain. 


See the State-by-State Consequences of a Republican Tea Party Middle Class Tax Increase here: