President Obama wants a payroll tax cut extension, but has shown no interest in coming up with a way to pay for it. House Republicans countered with an offer to pay for it by approving the XL Keystone pipeline, which would create up 20,000 jobs directly. That’s not all they packed into that counter offer.
The plan Boehner unveiled would extend the payroll tax cut, reform and extend unemployment insurance benefits and fix the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors. He proposes to pay for those measures by extending a federal worker pay freeze, increasing fees for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and trimming certain federal and Medicare benefits for the wealthy, among other items.
In addition to the Keystone measure, the package will include provisions to delay Environmental Protection Agency regulations on industrial boilers and to restrict tax credits for illegal immigrants.
The president’s response: Divisive rhetoric, and holding himself hostage.
Obama responded as well: “Rather than trying to figure out what can they extract politically from me in order to get this thing done, what they need to do is be focused on what’s good for the economy, what’s good for jobs and what’s good for the American people,” the president said at the White House.
He reiterated that he would not leave Washington for a planned Hawaii vacation until Congress passed an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.
“Get it done. And if not, maybe we’ll have a white Christmas here in Washington,” Obama said.
Do what I say or I’ll stay in town! Maybe the president has finally realized just how unpopular he is.