Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered House Republican leaders a way out of their payroll-tax-cut mess: after the House approves the Senate-approved bipartisan compromise, senators can start the next round of negotiations over a year-long extension. This morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced his support for Reid’s approach.
And about an hour ago, President Obama threw his support behind the same plan.
So, for those keeping score at home, the White House, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the House Minority Leader, and 89% of the Senate all want the same thing, and if the House brought the bill to the floor for a vote, it’d probably pass.
Which is why the House GOP leadership won’t let that happen.
The above clip is worth watching, but of particular interest was this line in the president’s remarks: “What’s happening right now is exactly why people just get so frustrated with Washington. This is it. This is exactly why people just get so frustrated with Washington. This isn’t a typical Democrat vs. Republican issue; this is an issue where an overwhelming number of people in both parties agree. How can we not get that done? Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can’t do it?”
The answer, I’m afraid, is “probably yes.” That’s what happens when a radicalized Republican Party controls part of the government.
For his part, Boehner’s office is saying the temporary extension approved by the Senate would be “unworkable for many small business job creators.” I have no idea if the Speaker actually believes that, but just in case, it’s worth noting that (a) Boehner didn’t say that House Republicans proposed a two-month payroll tax cut in 2009; and (b) if Boehner’s caucus kills the Senate’s bipartisan compromise, “small business job creators” will get hit with a tax increase.
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