Now that House Republicans have decided to oppose the Senate compromise extending the payroll tax cut for two months, John Boehner and other Republicans are defending the decision by claiming that extending it for a year is far more desirable. Here’s Boehner yesterday on Meet the Press:
“I, and our members, oppose the Senate bill. It’s only for two months. ... I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road. The American people are tired of that. Frankly, I’m tired of it. On the House side we’ve seen this kind of action before coming out of the Senate. It’s time to just stop, do our work, resolve the differences, and extend this for one year.”
The only problem with this is that other Republican leaders are already on record saying that the one year extension is a bad idea — something they said back when the one year extension, not the two month one, was being debated.
For instance, when Rep. Pete Sessions, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was asked by Bloomberg News a few days ago whether he stood by his earlier claim that Obama’s plan to extend the cut for a year was a bad idea, Sessions said yes:
“I didn’t change my mind. It is a bad idea. But when you combine that with something else — or instance, when we voted the extension of the tax cuts — when you mirror that with something that’s a job stimulus, an economic growth package, then it’s a good deal.”
And back in June, Paul Ryan called the idea to extend the cut for a year “sugar high economics.” So you can see why Dems are skeptical of the latest rationale Boehner has offered. They believe Republicans never wanted to extend the cut, and that the claim that a year long extension is desirable is just the latest excuse for opposing the current proposed extension that’s on the table, one that has passed the Senate, and that the president is prepared to pass into law.
In fairness to House Republicans, they passed their own proposal to extent the cut for a year. But as Sessions concedes above, many Republicans view the extension itself as a bad idea that was only made palatable for them by other stuff attacked to the proposal.
Meanwhile, at least one Republican has now come out and condemned the House GOP’s opposition in terms strikingly similar to the ones Dems have employed. Senator Scott Brown — who is facing an aggressive populist challenge from Elizabeth Warren — is out with a new statement blasting the House GOP opposition to the Senate compromise as “irresponsible.” Quoth Senator Brown: “We cannot allow rigid partisan ideology and unwillingness to compromise stand in the way of working together for the good of the American people.”
That seems like a pretty clear sign that some vulnerable Republicans worry that the politics of this fight are tilting pretty hard against them.
UPDATE: Senate Dems are also circulating video of Senator Richard Lugar calling on the House to pass the extension.