House Republicans said Monday that they would offer a measure to extend the current payroll tax cut for the rest of the year, dropping a previous demand that the tax break be offset.
The move marks a sharp turnaround for GOP leaders, who just last week were maintaining that the payroll tax holiday for 160 million Americans would have to be offset. But after taking a political pounding in December, House Republicans are adopting a new strategy.
Once again, House Republicans are caving on spending cuts.
“Democrats’ refusal to agree to any spending cuts in the conference committee has made it necessary for us to prepare this fallback option to protect small business job creators and ensure taxes don’t go up on middle class workers,” the three leaders said in a joint statement.
So, President Obama gets everything he wanted, courtesy of Boehner and the House GOP leadership. He gets a payroll tax cut he can–and almost certainly will–use on the campaign trail, without having to give even any “cut in the rate of growth” cuts, much less any real spending cuts.
At least McConnell is sounding like he has a bit of a backbone:
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed the idea of not offsetting the payroll tax cut at a GOP news conference last week.
“At what point do we anticipate getting serious here about doing something about deficit and debt? We think we ought to pay for it,” McConnell said, in response to a question from The Hill. “Regardless of whether these kinds of things have been paid for or not paid for in the past, we are where we are. We’re running another trillion-dollar deficit for the fourth year in a row.”
The fight for the Congress is every bit as important as the fight for the White House… especially if Romney does end up getting the nomination, because though he talks a good game, he really doesn’t have a record as a fiscal hawk. Santorum wouldn’t be much better, because he seems to be a “big government conservative” in the Bush mold, and not really good at cutting either.
However, if we get a truly conservative Congress, and not a bunch of no-backbone politicians who refuse to stand firm for spending cuts, whoever is President will hopefully be sent lots of bills cutting spending, and will then be in the position of either accepting them or making a very public veto. Given the mood of the people towards government spending, a veto could be a real political liability.