Yesterday there seemed to have been a deal, but today it’s falling apart. Let’s review — Congress is working on a bill that would —
- Extend the payroll tax cut for two months. The President wants the payroll tax cut to stay in effect throughout 2012, which would save working taxpayers an average of $1,000.
- Extend employment benefits for two months.
- Approve the “doc fix” for two months. The “doc fix” is the annual vote to override cuts to Medicare reimbursement that were mandated by a law passed during the Clinton Administration. Every year since 2003 Congress has voted to defer the cuts, and if the eight years’ of cuts were to all go into effect at once, the reimbursement rate would be cut by 27 percent.
The Senate passed the bill by 89 to 10 yesterday. But now the House is planning to revolt.
In a private conference call on Saturday afternoon, rank-and-file House Republicans complained bitterly about the contents of the deal, which would extend through February the presidentâ€™s Social Security tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. The sweetener of a provision requiring the president to expedite consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline wasnâ€™t enough to offset the bitterness of a deal that gives the president two more months to pillory Republicans on a tax cut that is one of his most popular policies.
Before the conference call yesterday, House Speaker Boehner said he approved the Senate bill. Now he’s saying that Congress should stop kicking the can down the road and pass a bill for all of 2012. And yeah, they should do that. But of course, there’s going to be a catch. No House Republican can sleep at night before he’s done something to screw American workers.