Congress has created another self-imposed crisis during the holiday season over the extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday, doc fix, and extended unemployment insurance benefits. They are acting like this is something that snuck up on them and there just isn’t enough time to fix it properly before the end of the year because of the holidays.
All of Congress and President Obama knew this problem would arrive at the end of this year when they created it last year when they passed one-year extensions of extended unemployment benefits, a doc fix, and created the temporary payroll tax holiday. The expiration was no surprise.
The excuses the Senate uses for avoiding doing their work all year and then offering a sloppy, unworkable compromise are similar to what I heard raising children.
The child’s room is a mess, but the child would like to eat some ice cream. You tell the child that before he can have the ice cream, the room must be clean. You explain to the child that the ice cream is already scooped and on the counter in the kitchen. The child wanders off and plays with toys telling you that the room will eventually be cleaned.
It’s getting late. The child has picked up nothing in the room, but is drooling over the sight of the ice cream. Rather than do the job and clean the room, the child decides to complain to you about how unfair it is to have to clean the room now when it could be cleaned later.
When that doesn’t get the ice cream, the child begins to yell to the neighbors how unfair you are for not allowing ice cream to be given to everyone right now.
Still, no effort has been made to pick up the toys and clean the room.
Well, now the child sees the ice cream melting into soup and screams at you that there is no time left to clean the room. Cleaning the room properly is no longer an option before the ice cream melts. In a huff, the child picks one toy off the floor and throws it on the bed claiming the rest will be picked up and put away properly after the ice cream is eaten.
This is similar to the sloppy mess that was thrown together by the Senate in an effort to get out of town for the holidays. The two-month extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday is unworkable in the real world according to the people who have to implement it.
The Senate had an entire year to develop and move legislation addressing these issues through the regular committee process and passage on the Senate floor. The Democratic majority in the Senate under the leadership of Senator Harry Reid have willfully refused to do their job. They do not want to publicize what they are for until they get Republicans to agree to it too. This is out of fear to let the public know how little spending they would actually like to cut and how much they would actually like to increase taxes.
The Senate Democrats want cover from Senate Republicans to show the public that they are reasonable.
The Republican majority House of Representatives plays no such games. Most House Republicans understand they will need to compromise to get the legislation signed into law, but they pass legislation to show the public where they stand before sitting down to compromise with the Senate and President Obama.
The Senate needs to realize they have not completed the job they were elected to do. Each house of Congress has passed a version of the bill. They now need to do the job they knew had to be done all year and work out their differences not next week, next month, or next year, but now.
The differences mainly center on the offsets included in the House version of the bill to prevent the extension of benefits and tax cuts from increasing the already massive deficit. There are no shortage of items that could be cut from the budget. Citizens Against Government Waste has an extensive list of options available to legislators for budget cuts.
An entire year has been wasted posturing and whining. Now is the time to just do your job that you were elected to do.
No ice cream until you clean your room.