U.S. House Republicans are getting assailed this morning for rejecting a bipartisan Senate compromise to extend the payroll tax cut.
As of this morning, the cuts are in jeopardy. House Republicans are ready to talk to the Senate about how to extend cuts for a full year, rather than the two months the Senate approved 89-10. That was rejected by the House on Tuesday, and the Senate and White House have said that there will be no more negotiating.
The Republicans are clearly betting that Americans will wonder why the Senate can't come back to work between now and Jan. 1 to work on improving the legislation. Senate Democrats and the White House believe that the public believes this is another obstructionist move by conservative Republicans.
Thus far, the Democrats are right. Opinion from the left and right is overwhelmingly against the House. Tell us what you think in our unscientific poll to the right.
First, our view: We can't vouch for the purity of Republican motives, but as our editorial says this morning, we think the two-month extension is bad policy. If the choice is that flawed legislation or no tax cut extension, we'll take the two months. But we think the Senate can and should try to do better.
What does everyone else think? A sampling:
A bad sign for the House: It has lost the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board, which lashed out at the GOP's "circular firing squad." Said the WSJ editorial:
The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play.
Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank thinks the Republicans are more false-hearted than Bravehearts. (Post readers agree - 93 percent vote that the payroll tax uncertainty is John Boehner's fault.)
The Post's Ezra Klein, often the most sensible voice in the room, examines why Boehner has sent the bill to conference committee. Klein hints that Boehner is positioning himself to ultimately cave in to the Senate agreement.
Guy Benson of the conservative Town Hall says that Washington's dysfunction is on full display. He says there's plenty of blame for both parties to share.
The Hill has video of John McCain telling CNN that the House's move is "harming the Republican Party," plus a comment from GOP Senator Bob Corker urging the House to resolve the issue.
Finally, Time's Adam Sorenson says four things can happen from this point on:
Either the House swallows bile, bends to the will of the Senate and passes the two-month bill unconditionally. Senators return from their vacations to negotiate a new deal with the GOP. Democrats and Republicans simply let the tax cut expire and jostle for the coveted position of slightly less reviled political party while the economy suffers–a tax hike on 160 million Americans, the loss of unemployment benefits for millions of others, a 27% cut to doctors’ Medicare fees– in the aftermath. Or the two parties manage the kind of 11th-hour, mutually unsatisfactory, gimmicky deal that’s already inspired so many ill feelings this year, either through conference committee or some provision attached to the two-month extension that would set the stage for a new agreement when Congress returns in January. Happy holidays.