Thursday, December 22, 2011

So what is holding up Congress?

The media sides with the president and says it's the Republican's "playing politics". But in truth, there is plenty of politics on both sides of the Isle:

Obama on payroll tax cut: "Enough is enough"
President Obama on Thursday continued his campaign on behalf of a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut, blasting House Republicans for holding up a Senate-passed bill and wondering, "Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can't do it?"

"It doesn't make any sense," he told reporters in a press conference. "Enough is enough."


Mr. Obama, in his remarks, called on Republicans to get this done "sooner rather than later."

"This should not be hard," he said. "We all agree it should happen. I believe it's going to happen sooner or later. Why not make it sooner rather than later? [...]

This article just quotes Obama tut-tuting about the Republicans like an Old School Marm complaining about a naughty child. All too typical rubbishy reporting, that mostly just parrots what Obama says. Anyone would think this is happening for no-reason at all.

This next article looks a bit deeper, and at least attempts to anwswer Obama's rhetorical question, "Why not make it sooner rather than later?":

Understanding Congress' payroll tax cut fight
WASHINGTON (AP) — If President Barack Obama, the House and the Senate all want to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut and jobless benefits through next year, why are they fighting so bitterly over doing it?

Obama, House Democrats and lopsided majorities of both parties in the Senate want to immediately renew the tax cut and jobless benefits for the next two months, and find a way later to extend them through 2012. House Republicans want to do it for a full year right away.

That doesn't sound like an unbridgeable gap. Yet the fight has evolved into a year-end partisan grudge match with no clear resolution in sight and with huge political and economic stakes.


Q: While they work through these differences, why the fuss over whether Congress first approves a two-month or a one-year plan?

A: For one thing, many freshman and conservative House Republicans are tired of compromising with the Senate and want their leaders to take a stand. They also say a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut would create uncertainty for taxpayers and businesses and problems for employers' payroll systems.

Many House Republicans hate the idea of keeping the issue alive until March 1, when the two-month bill would expire. Democrats have damaged Republicans politically with proposals to pay for the payroll tax cut by boosting levies on the rich. GOP lawmakers solidly oppose that approach, saying it would discourage job creation, and Democrats have used that to argue that Republicans are defending the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

That's not an argument Republicans want to spend the 2012 election year having. As a result, many want to avoid additional votes on the matter next year, and they don't want to let Obama spend next month's State of the Union address discussing it. They would rather spend 2012 voting on issues they feel are on their terrain, like blocking Obama administration regulations, reducing the size of government and cutting its spending.

Q: What about Democrats?

A: They say the tax cut and unemployment coverage must be renewed to protect the millions who would be hurt Jan. 1. They also have no desire to surrender leverage by abandoning the two-month deal negotiated by the Senate's Reid and McConnell.

But they, too, have political motivations.

Democrats cite economists who say the payroll tax would pump enough money into the economy to help it grow slightly next year. Knowing that the 2012 presidential and congressional races are likely to hinge on the economy's performance, they want to take no chances with anything that might tip the economy in the wrong direction. To them, that means the payroll tax cut and extra jobless coverage must be extended. [...]

There are more Questions with Answers within the article that explain things. But for most people, this will be "sound bites" portraying the Republicans as obstructionists. The Republicans had better learn to deal with it. Quickly.

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