In a surprise move yesterday, Democratic Representative Stenny Hoyer (MD) tried to bring a vote to the House floor on the Senate-passed bill to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. As soon as Hoyer got up to speak, Republicans adjourned the House and left, despite only being in session for a few minutes. Then, apparently, John Boehner ordered the C-SPAN House cameras to cut out, meaning no one could watch the aftershock from this move by the GOP.
This is an interesting move by the GOP leadership, who claim they want the Senate to come back to negotiate the bill. Even more interesting is how Boehner spun this decision; he claimed he wanted to set up a committee (a super-committeee, perhaps?) of House and Senate members to negotiate a deal. This is very itneresting, since the Senate already passed a bill and the House killed it, even after they killed a year-long extension. These diversionary tactics are not helping Boehner's credibility, and it sounds like his post as SOTH may be in jeopardy over this. Boehner is quoted as saying in a statement "We're here. We're ready to go to work. And we're hoping that Senate Democrats will appoint negotiators, come to the table and resolve these differences."
This stuff is so frustrating because anyone can see that it is all just fluff and nonsense. Boehner seems to be running around with his head up the collective ass of the wealthy, and appears to be incapable of doing anything in a straightforward way. He's has asked for a committee to negotiate this? I thought that's what the House floor was for. Negotiation. The Senate passed the bill cleanly. So what's the hold-up? Boehner can't be hoping to squeeze more ammunition out of this to use against the Dems; he already shot himself in the foot several times.
And of course, this is just adding to the uncertainty of the American People at the holidays, one of those times when money is tight and people tend to struggle more. Winter is around the corner, meaning people are going to be spending more on heat, too. A payroll tax extension, balanced against a small surtax on millionaires (excluding small businesses) would have been perfect. Instead, this was shot down over a pipeline. The average American is not going to benefit from the pipeline, but will benefit from the tax cut. The GOP muddied the argument by mixing apples and oranges, and trying to combine them together as fruit. It's amazing how our "leadership" can staunchly ignore job creating measures until tax cut extensions are on the table, then suddenly bring up something that has nothing to do with tax cuts and say "here's a plan for job creation." It seems like when the people are saying "go left," the legislature is going right. The people are supposed to be the focus, and the power that is wielded by the government needs to be curbed back substantially. Bring back the focus on the people, and solve one issue at a time. PLEASE!
UPDATE: House members finally agreed to the two month extension, and all they got for it was a lousy t-shirt (actually, they got another super-committee that gets to fail in two months. yippee). Boehner caved after he struck a deal with Harry Reid, which is interesting because Boehner didn't cave to Obama, McConnell, McCain, or the American People; he caved to Reid because Reid stuck a pacifier in his mouth and got him to suck up his pride and political posturing long enough to see reason.
In two months, we'll be having this same discussion, so please revert to this post at that time.