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December 20, 2011 4:45 PM What the House GOP conferees have in common

By Steve Benen

Now that House Republicans have rejected the Senate’s bipartisan compromise on a payroll tax-break extension, the next step, apparently, is moving forward with the conference-committee charade. It’s a joke intended to fail, but House GOP leaders have begun going through the motions.

To that end, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this afternoon he’s chosen eight House Republicans to work on negotiations — which probably won’t occur — with the Senate. The DCCC noted that most of them have already announced their opposition to extending the payroll tax cut at all.

Rep. Dave Camp (MI-04). “I’m not in favor of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” [The Hill, 8/14/11]

Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08): “I am not as big a fan of the payroll tax cuts…” [Bloomberg News, 12/14/11]

Rep. Tom Price (GA-06): “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” [NPR, 9/8/11]

Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-02): “it’s not the answer … these tiny little feel good measures. We don’t need more gimmicks.” [CNN, 11/30/11]

The DCCC actually missed one: Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) was also named to the conference committee, and just two weeks ago, he falsely claimed the payroll tax break is a “threat to Social Security.”

Why would the House GOP leadership choose conferees to work on the details of a tax cut who already oppose that tax cut? They wouldn’t unless the point was to set up the committee to fail.

In fact, it’s worth appreciating one of the great oddities of the last few days. House Republicans, from the leadership down, spent most of yesterday and today saying they really do love the payroll tax break and are eager to keep it going, but they don’t like the temporary nature of the Senate compromise. House Republicans aren’t for a middle-class tax increase that takes effect in January, they’ve said; they want a year-long extension.

To believe this, one would have to completely discount several months of rhetoric from these very same politicians, many of whom have spent months insisting that they reject the very idea of a payroll tax break.

Do these folks seriously expect anyone to believe their rhetoric, pretending to support a policy they’ve already argued against? Do they realize we have access to Google?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • Lin Lofley on December 20, 2011 5:05 PM:

    This is all a sham. They've been stalling for the better part of three years and they're not going to want to do ANYTHING in the coming election year. This is what happens when voters put people into the legislative branch who HATE the government. This what they do.

  • T2 on December 20, 2011 5:08 PM:

    they also hate black people, apparently. No Wins for Obama. On anything.

  • Texas Aggie on December 20, 2011 5:20 PM:

    The may or may not realize that we have Google, but if they do, I bet they are counting on most people not using it to check on them. It's up to us to make sure the word gets out.

  • Texas Aggie on December 20, 2011 5:22 PM:

    Steve, tell you what. I'll donate twice if you drop captcha and add an edit function.

  • ORgone on December 20, 2011 5:33 PM:


    Got Google? Yes we do, and Utube and twitter and iPhone and iPOD,Droid, digital recorders, cameras that fit on our glasses w/mic...and we are watching. You cannot run a campaign in hiding. Negotiations are over. Boots on the ground. With 15million unemployed we need to utilize our time wisely. URgone.

  • slappy magoo on December 20, 2011 5:38 PM:

    "Listen kid, I'm not gonna bullsh*t you, all right? I don't give a good f**k what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me... You can say anything you want cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get."

    It's high time we stop wondering if all Republicans are looking to make Obama fail for partisan gain, and wondering if SOME Republicans just want to see the mother burn...

  • sven on December 20, 2011 5:39 PM:

    "Do these folks seriously expect anyone to believe their rhetoric, pretending to support a policy they’ve already argued against?"

    After Politifact just awarded Democrats the Lie of the Year because it will still be called 'Medicare' how do you think Republican politicians will behave? If they SAY they support a payroll tax cut no reporter will ever call them on it.

  • sven on December 20, 2011 5:42 PM:

    (+1) for Texas Aggie

    I too pledge $10 just for dropping captcha and adding a 'flag' or vote up/down function.

  • jjm on December 20, 2011 5:58 PM:

    Could the GOP leadership be thinking that if they called the Senate back into session for this fraud, then Obama couldn't make a recess appointment (e.g. Cordray)?

    At least Barney Frank called them out on Maddow; the economy is improving, so they will try to sabotage any which way they can.

    Too late: everyone's onto your game, GOP

  • Dakota on December 20, 2011 5:59 PM:

    Face it. They are against anything President Obama supports. I don't want the Democrats to accede to republicans to restart "negotiations."

  • rdblybil on December 20, 2011 6:07 PM:

    This is probably the best Christmas gift ever! Let these a##holes show the middle class just where they're heads are at when it comes down to representing "the people". We'll see where the chips fall in November...

  • Gregory on December 20, 2011 6:11 PM:

    Do these folks seriously expect anyone to believe their rhetoric, pretending to support a policy they’ve already argued against?

    All they need is the so-called "liberal media" to believe it, and they've already proven over and over again that they will -- to the point of ignoring onctradictory statements made scant days before.

    Another infuriating factor in the whole Politiflunk flap is that they'd insist we pretend that the Republicans, who know darn well that their long-stated desire to roll back the New Deal and Great Society is unpopular with voters, is acting in good faith to preserve the program. Tha't my vote for Lie of the Year, if not the decade.


  • Wyatt on December 20, 2011 6:19 PM:

    Saw maybe 15 minutes of Fox News in the laundromat today--the anchor referred to the situation like this:

    "the House rejected the payroll tax extension passed by the democrats because, of course, it only extended the cut for two months instead of a year." I heard at least two or three statements echoing this while doing laundry.

    One of the greatest mistakes we can make is assuming that even the tiniest truth is self-evident to the modern Fox News viewer.

  • Anonymous on December 20, 2011 6:20 PM:

    You nailed it Sven (...pretending to support a policy they’ve already argued against?) No reporter will ever call them on it.

    I recommend Alec MacGinnis' blog at New Republic about the failure of journalism, the cowardice of media outlets, and the laziness and ignorance of reporters that allow outright lying and devious misrepresentation to proliferate.
    http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-stump/98760/the-hard-truth-about-fact-checking

  • Tramey on December 20, 2011 6:26 PM:

    Oops, accidentally sent previous post anonymously...

  • POed Lib on December 20, 2011 6:44 PM:

    Unfortunately, this is a stupid tax cut from the beginning. Social Security is in trouble. I don't give a crap that the government owns 87,400 trillion in IOUs. The system is currently in negative cash flow for current pay-in/pay-out. And Obama "smart" idea is the camel's nose for Repukeliscum.

  • sven on December 20, 2011 6:51 PM:

    Tramey, thanks for pointing out the article!

    My favorite example of the media simply refusing to do its job is the ongoing debate over Medicare cuts. Republicans campaigned endlessly in 2010 on the notion that Obama was cutting Medicare. Then Republicans spent the last year desperately trying to find a way to gut/privatize/defund Medicare. Last week my parents got a fundraising mailer from their current (Republican) Congressman. The banner headline was help Representative X to Stop Democrats from cutting Medicare. It boggles my mind.

  • Ron Byers on December 20, 2011 10:56 PM:

    Yeh they know we have Google, but they are correct in assuming the "reporters," er stenographers, in the main stream media don't. I am looking at you NPR and AP.

  • pattonbt on December 20, 2011 11:44 PM:

    "Do these folks seriously expect anyone to believe their rhetoric, pretending to support a policy they�ve already argued against?"

    Yes. Yes they do. And they are right. They've done it every day for the last 30 years and they've done nothing but get stronger and stronger.

    Like how they argue that tax cuts increase revenue so we must have tax cuts yet at the same time wail that we need to starve the federal government of funds (so the natural question then should be "then why in gods name do you support tax cuts if they will increase revenue, you should be arguing for tax increases then right?" which of course is never asked. Quelle surprise.) amongst hundreds of others examples.

    It's sad, but true.

    The media only reports facts in a stenographers sense. "The R's said X today" and it ends there. They do not care that they mave have said "Y" five minutes ago. They don't want to lose their precious "access" so best to put on blinders and hope people will figure it out for themselves.

  • bob h on December 21, 2011 7:24 AM:

    These people like to question whether the payroll tax cut "worked". How then, can they claim the Bush tax cuts worked? One cut is working and the other isn't?

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