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Boehner Faces Revolt In The House Over Payroll Tax Cut

Heretofore, I have refrained from writing about the current battle in Washington over the so-called payroll tax holiday. I considered it to be the same old song and dance at the end of the year, with a deal to be worked out at the last minute. From all of the indications coming out of Washington last week, it appeared that the Republicans were getting the upper hand in the public relations battle. We were led to believe they would be voting a year-long extension to the aforementioned payroll tax holiday and would be leaving town for the holidays. This would force the Senate to accept what they had been given and everyone would be happy, sort of. As it turns out, not so much.

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You see, the Senate was not happy with those prospects, so they passed their own bill, providing for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. The Democrats in the Senate pulled a fast one on the House GOP, but it should be noted that they had the help of 39 Republican Senators. To top that off, they used the same tactic the House was set to use; ie. they left town. Needless to say, that didn’t set well with the Republicans in the House.

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As I was driving home last evening, I was listening to Jamie Dupree on the Neal Boortz show and he had an interesting observation. When the Senate passed their bill, they apparently did so with the assurance that Speaker John Boehner would go along with it. There is every indication that the Speaker was willing to support their two-month extension, just to get along and get out of town. However, there was a conference call that took place between the GOP leadership and some of its rank and file. It seems that call was not a very nice call. Afterwards, the Speaker came out and said the House would not vote on the Senate bill. Instead, they will vote to formally go to conference with the Senate, ostensibly to resolve the differences between the two pieces of legislation. He mentioned something about not being able to form tax policy for only two months.

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Since I am not privy to insider information, and am not likely to be so, allow me to speculate for a few moments. From what I heard from Jamie Dupree, and from reading the different accounts of what has been taking place, I think we are seeing a full-blown revolt from the rank and file Republicans in the House. Consider this, from CNN:

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“I negotiated a compromise (with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky) at Speaker Boehner’s request. I will not reopen negotiations until the House follows through and passes this agreement that was negotiated by Republican leaders and supported by 90 percent of the Senate,”[Harry] Reid said.

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From that statement, it would seem that Speaker Boehner was indeed willing to go along with the Senate’s version of a payroll tax cut extension. In fact, he seems to have praised it during the weekend conference call.

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Boehner appears to have reversed himself since a conference call with caucus members Saturday, when he was the only House Republican leader to express support for the Senate plan, according to a GOP source.

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The source said Boehner described the Senate vote as “a good deal” and “a victory” in the conference call. For his part, the speaker insisted Monday that he raised concerns about the Senate plan “from the moment I heard of it.”

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Boehner said he only praised a provision in the Senate bill requiring presidential action on the Keystone pipeline.

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“The rank-and-file members are extremely opposed” to the Senate plan, a GOP source stressed, adding that most members were concerned with the uncertainty caused by just a two-month extension, as well as the political benefit the White House could gain in the national dialogue over taxes.

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This is really very simple to understand. Boehner was working behind the scenes to reach an agreement and thought he had something he could work with. He now has some major bite marks on his backside because the members of his caucus, indeed some of the leaders of that caucus, have rejected the deal. In effect, they are saying no thanks and are refusing to budge. No matter how much the Speaker may want this deal to be finished and to get out of town, conservative members of his own party are saying enough is enough. They are refusing to go along with his plan and by doing so are causing a major ruckus in Congress.

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Some congressional experts may look at this revolt as a bad thing. While I can not claim the mantle of congressional expert, I will say this. For far too long, the rank and file members of Congress have been sidelined by their leadership. Unless these members toe the line the leaders have drawn in the sand, they can expect to accomplish nothing. No committee memberships will be forthcoming and certainly no leadership roles. It appears that these members have decided they have had enough. They are standing their ground and are using the only tool they have left, their vote. Funny how that works. If the rank and file refuse to vote for what the leadership wants, then where does that leave the leadership?

I am not a fan of stalemate. Generally speaking, it accomplishes nothing, but I hope the revolt continues. There are some members who want to discontinue the payroll tax cut altogether, saying it hasn’t worked. I would tend to agree with that assessment. If you disagree, I would ask you to consider this. How do you suppose the Senate proposed to pay for their two-month extension of the payroll tax cut? They were going to raise mortgage fees for those mortgages that are administered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is also worth noting that the fee increases were going to be in place for ten years. To pay for a two-month extension. So some of the same people who would benefit from the payroll tax cut were going to be giving some of it back, in the form of higher mortgage fees. For ten years. Chew on that for a while and then tell me the rank and file members shouldn’t revolt. If you ask me, the rank and file Democrats should join them. Maybe then they could shake things up enough to get something done that actually counts.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

  • My hunch is that the GOPers caught hell after it came out that the Ommnibus spending bill was approved in the dark of the night without anyone reading it, as the Video by Hoyer so proudly proclaimed. At least, I for one gave em hell by writing and letting them know. Maybe that put them back on their heels. We let Obama off the hook after the last election, and once again we are going to take a hit once more.

  • The title is misleading. Boehner is not facing a “revolt”, Boehner is leading the revolt against the Senate bill.

    Boehner never agreed to pass a two month extension. Some Conservatives would not dream to give credit to what CNN reports or what Harry Reid has to say, except, apparently, when it suits their purpose to criticize a man – Speaker Boehner – that is doing a principled and efficient job in the House.

    Boehner put it in a nutshell: “Making tax policy for two months?”. He is right.

    • I beg to differ. From everything I have read, Boehner had every intention of going along with the Senate. That is, until he held the conference call and discovered he had members who were not willing to toe his line. That is when he started talking about forcing the Senate’s hand. This is not an attack on the man. It’s just the plain facts of the matter. Just because CNN has reported on the story doesn’t make it any less true.

      • I’m not sure about this case, specifically. However, Boehner is facing a revolt in a more general sense…I am revolting against him!

        Boehner is singlehandedly responsible for corrupting the incoming Tea Party freshmen. The Tea Party ushered in some 60 freshmen and near all of them have been absorbed into the rank and file, shut the hell up and vote with me, Boehner’s Buttheads.

        It is high time conservatives stood up and said, “No more!”

        At this point, I could care less about political expediency and the rest of the media-driven excuse making.

        • I have nothing against compromise, but I have to agree with you, Harry. The Tea Party freshmen have not accomplished much of what they were sent to Washington to accomplish. Much of the blame for that lies at the feet of the Speaker. Maybe that’s why they are sticking to their guns and trying to hold his feet to the fire on this issue.

  • We expend more time attacking our own than exposing Obama and the Democratic Liberal Machine.

    • I’m not sure that is a fair assessment, John. I do not hesitate to point out what Obama and the Democrats are doing, but that doesn’t mean I will ignore the problems I see in the Republican Party.

      • Yes, you do a good job of exposing the liberal game. And I wish you would use your considerable talents to do more of the former rather than the later.

        I feel that Speaker Boehner is a good man doing a very difficult job and I easily jump to his defense.

        • I hope you realize I meant no disrespect to Speaker Boehner by writing this post. However, I happen to agree with Harry’s comment above. The Tea Party freshmen have been co-oped by Boehner and his leadership. By allowing that to happen, they have sidelined themselves from the job they were sent to Washington to accomplish.

  • @ “I am not a fan of stalemate. Generally speaking, it accomplishes nothing”

    Oh how I wish our government would learn to accomplish nothing. Everything they do just makes things worse.

    • Well, don’t they “have” to do something?

  • LD, I thought you might be interested in this email I got from Congressman Allen B. West, R-FL (I’m on his fundraising list). It kind of supports your analysis of what’s happening within the House GOP, and most especially with the Tea Party freshmen:

    “I only have a moment, but I wanted to update you on what is happening and why we are still in session on Capitol Hill.

    “As you have heard, there is a standoff now regarding the extension of the payroll tax cut. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and their friends in the Obama Administration want to once again “kick the can down the road” and only extend the cut for two months.

    “At the same time, like a Christmas tree, they’ve added things like weakening unemployment insurance reforms and curbs on President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional health care law.

    “My colleagues in the House of Representatives and I are standing strong. But some “Leaders” are too ready to compromise and want to play the “go along to get along” Washington, D.C. game.

    “I’ll never compromise my principles for political gain.

    “The people of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District didn’t send me to Washington, D.C just to follow the herd and behave. They wanted a strong voice — our voice – in the Halls of Congress speaking up for real reform and common sense conservative values.

    “And we won’t let them down.

    “My outspoken character has made me a lot of enemies in the establishment in Washington, D.C. The Democrats take every opportunity to ridicule our conservative army and its beliefs.

    “But as I have written before, I will stand and fight and we will win, thanks to friends like you.”

    • Thanks for sharing Congressman West’s email, Sherman. It seems to shed a little light on this issue.

  • I’m like you Larry, I haven’t written about this because I am tired of fighting this same battle every few months. And we mustn’t forget we are in this position because Barack Obama has never passed a budget. He may try to blame this on the Republicans but it should have never got to this point in the first place.
    I think Boehner has lost control and I think that it is a good thing that conservatives are standing their ground, it is about time.

    • I am with you 100%, Steve. This never should have came to this and if our dear President tries to blame it all on the Republicans, he will be guilty of a bald-faced lie to the American people. Even though it may put Republicans in a bad light, I am glad to see the rank and file members of Congress standing their ground.

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