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February 16, 2012 12:15 AM UTC

House Republicans Listen to Grownups, Agree on Obvious

  • by: Colorado Pols

In mid-December of last year, we weren’t alone in being critical of House Republicans over their seemingly tone-deaf attitude over a temporary extension of the payroll tax deduction — particularly when it was obvious that they were going to have to cave sooner rather than later. As we wrote just after Christmas:

There’s no question that the battle over the extension of the payroll tax cut ended as a significant victory for Democrats–an outcome that wasn’t all that likely only two weeks ago as Republicans were gaining the upper hand in forcing concessions. The short-term extension of the payroll tax robs the GOP of a favorable negotiating position they enjoyed after Democrats dropped a “surtax” proposal on the highest income earners to pay for the full one-year extension. When the public tunes in next year with polls favoring the “surtax,” this could prove a major setback.

Perhaps more importantly, turning the negatives in this battle solidly against House Republicans could do lasting damage to the campaigns of many incumbent members of Congress–very prominently including Colorado, where two incumbent Republicans now face tight battles for re-election in competitive districts.

Well, it seems as though House Republicans are finally starting to learn some lessons from their hard-headedness. As The Associated Press reports, House Republicans have apparently agreed to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits through 2012:

On Tuesday, House Republicans emerging from a closed-door meeting said reaction to the package was generally positive, with some saying it reflected a desire to avoid spending months debating an issue that cost them dearly last year…

…Republicans were determined that Obama not be able to claim that the GOP was standing in the way of a middle-class tax cut. They would rather spend the months leading up to the November presidential and congressional elections focused on GOP themes of opposing tax increases, higher spending and Obama administration regulations that they say stifle job creation.

We still think that the GOP will suffer damage from their December posturing, but at least there are some grownups in the room who realize that continuing this fight was political suicide of the silliest order. Republicans gave up on their insistence that any extension of the payroll tax be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, because while that stance might have made Tea Party supporters happy, it wasn’t doing much to get them support of Independent voters.


14 thoughts on “House Republicans Listen to Grownups, Agree on Obvious

    1. And who knows?  Maybe recent victories will finally convince Dems that there is actually an alternative to bending over and grabbing your ankles whenever those big mean Repugs make a demand and threaten to call you “socialist”. One can hope.

    1. If we don’t blockquote, it’s hard to tell if you are reading something that we wrote today or if you are reading something we wrote previously. If we didn’t blockquote, readers would be confused (but certainly nobody as clever as yourself, of course).  

          1. Don’t know why the rest of my comment disappeared.  I was just saying that it’s pretty common to use block quotes to refer to something that has appeared in the past on the blog and that it seems like ArapG is picking on stuff like this to avoid the elephant in his room: Romney and his continuing plummet.

  1. Before we all get too happy about the fact that the  Republicans have caved, we need to consider whether they have some hidden agenda. I submit that they do.

    The Treasury Dept. announced last week that the bill that raised the debt ceiling may not have gone far enough. The bill was supposed to raise the debt ceiling enough to get us past the election into the next session of Congress.  Well, it appears that it will not make it that far. Treasury is saying that Congress may need to raise the debt ceiling again by late summer or early fall. Has the President unwittingly created his own October surprise?

    Now add to this current situation the Republican’s proposal to extend the payroll tax holiday without set offs or other funding and I am concerned that we will be facing another debt ceiling battle just before the election. Could we be facing another threat of default or government shutdown right before the election? How would this effect the election?

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