Steve Moore comments on the House GOP fail on the payroll tax extension and pipeline deal that is now on ice for the New Year’s festivities, and am speaking to Steve Moore soonest on the day after the day after the deeply comic disorder of the House and Senate at year’s end.

Also, I wrote a follow-up in the Daily Beast on the self-criticism of House GOP members: There is no just-in-time deal for the so-called payroll and pipeline bill, and that means you are likely going to see a 2% cut in your first paycheck of 2012. This is the WMD option for the parties and the White House. The House and Senate have departed the city.

The House GOP has appointed conferees, who are waiting to meet with . . . no one . . . to resolve the conflict, because neither Majority Leader Harry Reid nor Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi intends to appoint conferees or to bargain…. [the rest below is directly from The Daily Beast op-ed]

Instead, our national leaders choose to negate any conciliatory alternatives in order to blame the other guy for the failure once the American people realize they are paying for Congress’s premeditated disorder.

“It’s Groundhog Day Year, it’s the same brinksmanship again,” asserts one of the GOP House members chosen by leadership to be a conferee for the deal. “Speaker [John] Boehner doesn’t want confrontation, he’s a consensus leader. But the ideological fight, that’s what the Democrats want. We’re here, ready to work to solve this. Mitch McConnell gave Harry Reid unanimous consent to name conferees. To my knowledge, he won’t.”

Another GOP member familiar with the leadership comments on this brinksmanship scenario for both sides. “[The Democrats] are going to see how the polling goes. Already, I’ve seen [Obama adviser David] Axelrod on TV saying that we threw a monkey wrench in the bill. Right now, the Democrats think they’re winning. Their strongest argument is that this was a bipartisan agreement in the Senate. Here we are at Christmas. There’ll be a lot of nonsense for the rest of this week. The polling won’t start again till next week, and it will be Wednesday [Dec. 27] before anyone wakes up.”

Speaker John Boehner holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington with Republican House members after a vote to block a Senate bill to extend the payroll tax break for an additional two months on Dec. 20, 2011., Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call / Getty Images

How did we get into this tangle? How did the House GOP pass a bill for a year-long extension of the payroll tax and then get dry-gulched by a Senate that passed a two-month extension overwhelmingly, 89-10, as a compromise?

“It was hastily put together in the Senate,” I am told by a professional wag. “Something went very wrong last Saturday.”

“[Senate GOP leader Mitch] McConnell doesn’t do anything without checking with Boehner,” a House member outside of leadership tells me. “And Boehner doesn’t do anything without checking with his leadership team. These are consensus guys. What you can figure is that Boehner told his leadership, and they knew there was a risk that the members would bolt, and they took the risk. Now Boehner is manning up and taking the heat for his own team.”

I asked a Republican conferee if the Senate vote for a two-month extension was a surprise.

“I was struck dumb,” was the response. “It was very disappointing. I’ve certainly heard it from business organizations. And from the Facebook page. It’s utterly ridiculous. Two months, come on. I’d like to hear how those senators who voted for this explain it. I’d like to hear from [Utah’s] Mike Lee, [Florida’s] Marco Rubio.”

Another Republican member also looks suspiciously at the Senate Republicans. “Boehner and [Majority Leader Eric] Cantor and [Majority Whip Kevin] McCarthy are on the same page. I’m not so sure that something happened. They had to know what the Senate was doing. [The Senate] punted. Rubio and Lee, I’d like an explanation. That’s what conservatives should be asking. I don’t mind Rubio. But Lee is one of the [Tea Party] guys throwing us under the bus.”

There is blame for the House leadership, also. “Look at who they have down at the mic leading the charge to reject the Senate bill. [Conference Chair Jeb] Hensarling and “[Study Committee Policy Chairman Tom] Price. They’re not beauty queens. At some point, they were told that the two months was a possibility in the Senate. They thought it wouldn’t be a deal breaker, or they would have worked it with McConnell. They were wrong, and now they’re leading us to vote against what they let happen. Hensarling, Price, Cantor, McCarthy. This the team Boehner wanted. Our leaders.”

Through all this analysis of the fiasco, there is a sense of doom for the Republican House. They have gone out on an ice floe with no obvious way back to shore. The lapidarian Wall Street Journal editorial page now declares that the Republicans “have thoroughly botched the politics” of the payroll tax.

One partisan wit credits Harry Reid and Barack Obama for recognizing their opportunity and seizing the day. “Harry Reid tells us to go to Hell, and he and the Democrats are enjoying this. [President] Obama beats our brains out with this. They’ll drag this out as long as they can. I don’t see us coming back before the first week of the year. We’re so bad off that we’re blamed for trying to give the American people a 12-month tax break while the Democrats are giving them a two-month tax break that people say can’t work, and they get praised. Nobody is going to pay attention to this until it hits.”

There is a strong possibility that President Obama will nurse the grievance against the Republican Party, and the Tea Party particularly, until the State of the Union. “Obama can pound the GOP in the speech. The Democrats will whoop and holler. They’ll throw rose petals on him. Obama hates the pipeline. This is tailor-made for him.”

The payroll-tax mutually assured destruction of the House and Senate does provide melodramatic proof that the 11% approval rating for Congress is not a fluke, and will be regarded as the good old days a month from now.

— From the blog for The John Batchelor Show.

  • Anonymous

    Well, well, well, so all the political players and pundits are all up in arms about a temporary tax cut. Really!!! The outrage should be over how the politicians on all sides of the political spectrum have used the Tax code as little more than a tool to gain favor or to return favors with those who support their political ambitions. If you as an American citizen want a government that works for what is best for the country as a whole then you might want to consider taking away the ability for the political class in this nation to continue to create Bread and Circus for the masses there by keeping from view the truly important issues that should be addressed. A flat tax or Fair tax is the only way that we can begin to take away the political candy that the politicians dish out. Until that time we will all have to deal with listening to nothing but the continuing sound and fury that comes out of our nation’s capital, and we all know what that signifies.

  • Anonymous

    I’m upset.  I sent in to the White House what I would be sacrificing by the $40 increase–two topless lap dances at the local strip club–and Obama didn’t even mention my name or my plight during his speechifying.

    • Anonymous

      I know what you mean . I had to E-mail Obama and told him I won`t be able to buy any of that cheap crap with his logo on it. Damn !!

      • Anonymous

        Hey buddy! Got news for you… That cheep crap with his logo on it is going to be priceless if he looses in 2012…..

    • Anonymous

      Hell here is my recommendation. Take a time out at Ricks of Houston’s and put your mind on something else….

    • Anonymous

      And that’s only $40 IF you make $106K + a year.

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    The House Republicans are holding America hostage for the sake of politics… Its that simple.

    No incumbent should be reelected…..

    • William L. Donlon

      The House Republicans Are Doing Exactly What They Were Elected To Do In The 2010 Elections!

      The 2010 Mid-Terms Were About Putting An End To Business As Usual.

      Kicking The Can, — Passing With Out Funding — Billing Our Children & Grandchildren.Etc.

      This Is What House Republicans Ran On —
      This Is What we Voted For —
      We Either Mean It Or We Don’t.

      So There Is Going To Be A Media/Obama Shit Storm.

      Really!!!  I Mean Big Whoop-di F-ing Do — Really!

      Is That The Best They Got??

      And We Are Supposed To Quake In Our Boots??

      Think About It Popsmoke — & Spin Your Guns Around.

      Crossing The Delaware In Dead Of A Winters Night?

      Suffering Through Vally Forge When The Continental Congress Ran Away. (Sort Of Like McCain & The Senate Repubs.)

      Fredericsburg & Bastogne —-

      And Were Supposed To Run From The Likes of — MSNBC, Rachel, Chris & Fat Ed?? — CNN, Diane, Brian, Morning Joe??? —

      Surely We Are Made Of Sturner Stuff.

      Steady On Old Sport! — Close Ranks!

      It Is Time To Earn Our Citizenship!

      Look To Your Priming — Make It Count.

      • Anonymous

        good post

  • William L. Donlon


    Christmas  – 1776 — Washington Crosses The Delaware — Wins At Princeton & Trenton — Keeps The Cause Alive.

    Christmas – 1777 — Valley Forge Washington & The Contanental Army Freeze Through The Winter — Come Out Stronger & Liberty Prevails.

    Christmas -1862 After A Bloody Defeat At Fredicsburg, Lincoln Weathers Blistering Calls For Impeachment and A Truce, Prevails At Vicksburg &Gettysburg In July 1863, Slavery Is Ended.

    Christmas – 1944 General Anthony McAuliff Commanded The 101st Airborne Division At Bastogne.  Cut Off, Surronded, Out Numbered 10 to 1, He Replied “NUTS” To A German Surrender Proposal. The 101st  Held, The American Line Held & Germany Asked For Surrender Terms Of McAuliff In April 1945.

    Christmas – 2011 Tea Party Freshman & The Republican House Caucus, Led By John Boehner, Say “NUTS” To Obama And Harry Read  They Have Dug In Against All Odds To “End Business As Usual” And Preserve This Republic For Our Children & Grand Children.

    America Was Built On The Bones Of Lost Causes!

    Winter Soldiers Have ALWAYS Stood To Their Tackle Against All Odds.

    We Have Never Cringed From Trouble — We Have loosened Our Belts A Notch Or Two And — Went Looking For It.

    The American Ghosts Of Christmas Past Are Watching —

    “Why Stand We Here Idle”?

    Go To Your Window — Open It —
    Lean Your Head Out Into The Winter Wind — 
    Listen To The Whispers Of Ghosts Of Patriots Past —-

    You’ll Know What To Do!!

    • Anonymous

      “Christmas – 2011 Tea Party Freshman & The Republican House Caucus,
      Led By John Boehner, Say “NUTS” To Obama And Harry Read  They Have Dug
      In Against All Odds To “End Business As Usual” And Preserve This
      Republic For Our Children & Grand Children.”

      NUTS to Obama and Harry Reid? Kind of forgetting the Senate Republicans aren’t you?

      • William L. Donlon

        I Hear You.

        They Are Called “Sunshine Patriots???
        Led By McCain.

        • Anonymous

          Much better…

    • Anonymous

      OMG so good William may I please repost it?

      • William L. Donlon



        I’m Honored

        Thank You!

        • Anonymous

          it moved me to,s just too good not to spread around.

      • William L. Donlon



        I’m Honored

        Thank You!

  • Anonymous

    Throw all those bums out!

  • Anonymous

    An overall loss to each individual might help people realize that with each new spending bill, taxes have got to rise…

  • Anonymous

    The House GOP will take a political pounding for this when the Senate Republicans and the Dems should be the ones paying the price.

    The 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax (from 6.2%to 4.2%) might give a short-term boost to the economy, but it contributes to Social Security’s long-term insolvency at a time when the retirement program is already paying out more in benefits than it is collecting in taxes. A one-year extension would drive up next year’s federal deficit by more than $100 billion.

    Payroll tax gridlock could be a good thing

    • Anonymous

      It’s a total scam. The $40 per week. that Obamacus is rambling on about only applies if you make over the maximum SS cap of $106,000 per year. That means if you’re just some regular schnook making $50K that amounts to an extra $20/week. Woopty-freaking-do!