House GOP delays payroll tax vote
The Democrats are loving this.
Speaker Boehner doesn't know what to do with his caucus. After GOP senators got Obama to cave on the pipeline by attaching it to the extension of the payroll tax for two months despite his veto threat, House Republicans are threatening to hand the Democrats a winning issue; a tax increase on the first of the year.
It's not that House Republicans are necessarily right or wrong in refusing to go along with the two month extension. They are politically stupid. You don't go "all in" when you're holding a pair of deuces and the other guy is flashing three aces. Harry Reid is in the driver seat on this issue and all the House Republicans are doing is making him -- and the Democrats - look good.
And Boehner? A far more realistic politician than much of his caucus, Boehner realizes the catastrophe that would occur if January 1 rolls around and the House hasn't approved the senate bill. Voters are going to see a tax increase in their paycheck and will know exactly who to blame for it.
So the speaker has decided to delay the vote one more day and see if he can't twist enough GOP arms to get the bill passed or, find some way to throw the blame for his caucuses' intransigence onto the Democrats.
"The Senate did - they did their job. They produced a bill," Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. "The House disagrees with it."
Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said the contents of the round of Tuesday votes were still being "sorted out" late Monday night.
Some Republican lawmakers did not want to be in the position of voting against a tax cut, a desire House leaders were sensitive to as they worked to draft a schedule of floor votes for Tuesday.
But Democrats cried foul on the Republicans' procedural moves, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) telling reporters that GOP leaders would not allow for a direct vote on the Senate's version of the payroll tax cut plan.
"My guess is that they're afraid their members are not going to stick with them on voting against the tax cut," Pelosi said during a news conference at the Capitol.
"Speaker Boehner should allow an up-or-down vote on the compromise that Senator McConnell and I negotiated at Speaker Boehner's request," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) added.
House Republicans want to force the senate to come back from vacation to vote on a one year deal. Reid has already said that isn't going to happen. He is not going to get in the way while the opposition is destroying itself and recall his members to vote on a brand new package after the compromise he worked out with McConnell.
The optics on this are horrible for the GOP no matter how long they delay the vote, or what strategy they come up with to try and shift the blame to the other side. There is a time to fall on your sword, and then there is a time to run away and fight another day. The GOP will have another opportunity in two months to get what they want. Is their position so vital that it can't wait 60 days?