RSN June 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Excerpt: "'It's a done deal,' a member of the House Republican leadership told me of the payroll-tax extension agreement negotiated between the Republican House and the Senate Democrats. 'Nobody cares. That's it.'"

US House Speaker John Boehner leaves after voting at the House Chamber at the US Capitol Building, 07/29/11. (photo: Getty Images)
US House Speaker John Boehner leaves after voting at the House Chamber at the US Capitol Building, 07/29/11. (photo: Getty Images)



Why the GOP Caved

By John Batchelor, The Daily Beast

19 February 12

 

Tired of watching the president claim the mantle of middle-class protector, the Republicans in Congress caved in on the payroll-tax extension vote.

t's a done deal," a member of the House Republican leadership told me of the payroll-tax extension agreement negotiated between the Republican House and the Senate Democrats. "Nobody cares. That's it."

I pressed on the details of how the Republican-led House had transformed itself from last December, when it fought the White House and the Democrats over the same deal, insisting that it had to be paid for by cuts in spending and that it could not include more pork such as unemployment extensions.

"Yeah, well, it's old news. They worked it out." He was speaking of Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus of Montana for the Democrats and House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan for the Republicans. "We got nothing except we got rid of it, so the president can't beat us over the head with it."

I asked about the pay-for? The media reports put the total price tag of the payroll-tax extension, the unemployment-benefits extension, and the fix of Medicare payments to doctors at $150 billion. The only mention of any revenue to be raised to offset the costs is additional telecommunications auctions and a concession that new federal workers will pay more for their pensions. In sum, dimes tossed into a river of red ink. There is also talk of cuts to help defray the costs, but the details remain murky and unfinished.

There's no pay-for," admitted my informant. "We gave them what they wanted. We wanted to cut by the end of the year 99 weekers in certain high-employment states to 59 weeks. But in order to get it done, we had to make it 73 weeks. It's done."

I asked what has happened that House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and their Tea Party–fueled majority would concede so much and so quickly.

We have no choice," my informant told me. "Because our frontrunners are fighting among each other and talking about nothing. We're trying to avoid becoming fodder for the president. I guess the one thing that we do get out of giving up is that the president can no longer pretend to be the champion of the middle class."

I summarized that the Republican House cannot present a position of principal about the deficits and the entitlement troubles when the men contending to be the nominees are not talking about the same issues.

"Our big guys are awful. Our frontrunner, Romney, if he is our frontrunner, he's just like Obama. They listen to their pollsters. They talk the same way, and they both say it well. The difference is that Obama is hiding his left-wing agenda, and Romney has no agenda. We have a frontrunner who has no plan. Even if he were for one thing, it would be helpful. But what's Romney for? Santorum, he's about social issues, and if he's at the top of the ticket, we might as well all get new jobs in New York. If it's Gingrich, well, I don't want to think about it."

"I guess the one thing that we do get out of giving up is that the president can no longer pretend to be the champion of the middle class."

We went over the details of the settlement between the GOP and the Democrats that had taken five months of feverish partisanship to come to a cool, quiet end in mid February. For $150 billion added to the deficit, the Republican Party inspired by the Tea Party election of 2010 had nothing of principal to show. Concessions, manipulations, promises, adjustments, guesses, can-kicking down the yellow brick road. The best that can be said for the wrangling is that the final deal is only one third the size of the original $50 billion request by the White House.

"Old news," said my informant, and he made it clear it was time to change the subject to something that wasn't about losing.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+34 # psadave 2012-02-19 21:11
Why didn't you use a picture of Boehner crying? I hope to see him doing more of that through early November!
 
 
+15 # NanFan 2012-02-20 02:35
I'd like to see a photo of Boehner standing in front of an unemployment line because someone had the "wrecking 'balls'" to cave in HIS house!
 
 
+14 # pbbrodie 2012-02-19 21:58
I just wish they hadn't realized how stupid they have been and kept on fighting.
 
 
+5 # LML 2012-02-19 23:05
No matter what you may think, this is not a victory!!!

Why wouldn't the Republicans go for it? After all it reduces the amount of money going into the Social Secuirty fund?

But why did Obama come up with an idea that would undermine Social Security.
 
 
0 # Karlus58 2012-02-21 07:28
Yes, why? I'm telling you this is not a good thing. It's in disquise. Folks need to see this for what it is....that's why the GOP caved. They know they can use this later on against the social safety net we've been Paying For! They want that money in the market...to steal.
 
 
+5 # Dave45 2012-02-19 23:16
When it comes right down to it, the only thing this Republican Party cares about is electing Republicans. That is their one, guiding principle. They'll give up anything that gets in the way of electing Republicans. They'll support anything that helps to elect Republicans. It would all be laughable if not for the fact that the Democrats are not much different.
 
 
+10 # angelfish 2012-02-19 23:24
THIS has been the problem all along in the Boehner House! NOBODY has cared for a long, LONG time! Vote the miscreants OUT in November! The People, UNITED, will NEVER be defeated!
 
 
+18 # X Dane 2012-02-20 01:17
Poor fools, so they think they have neutralizes the president? The country has seen clearly, that the GOP will fight tooth and nail to DENY tax cuts for the middle class, and just as fiercely to GIVE tax cuts to wealthy people, who do not need it. That picture is seared into the minds of most of us and it can be conjured up fast with videos.
 
 
-1 # coberly 2012-02-20 05:07
Let's see...

they turned social security into a welfare program

and paid for it by cutting the pay of federal workers

yep, Obama can stop pretending to be champion of the middle class.
 
 
0 # L mac 2012-02-20 16:33
I really do wonder why the S.S. tax was cut. Any opinions on that?
 
 
0 # ozken 2012-02-20 17:01
"We got nothing except we got rid of it, so the president can't beat us over the head with it."

"We're trying to avoid becoming fodder for the president. I guess the one thing that we do get out of giving up is that the president can no longer pretend to be the champion of the middle class."

So the GOP caving in was NOTHING to do with doing what's best or right for the people but ALL about not giving Obama political ammunition. That says it all!
 
 
+2 # X Dane 2012-02-20 22:13
ozken, I have seen a lot of economists on various TV programs. They ALL said that if the tax holiday was not extended It would worsen the economy.
We are talking about people who have VERY little and every penny counts. If the wage earners have less to spend a lot of OTHER people will be hurt.

I know we are angry with some of the presidents actions, but this is real, and it is necessary.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN