After reading this entire thread, I think there are a few things that need to be clarified.
1. The original bill that came out of the House was H.R. 3630. This bill would have done 5 things:
a) extend the payroll tax cut for all 12-months of 2012.
b) extend unemployment benefits for the full year, 2012.
c) paid for the payroll tax cut extension by closing some tax loopholes on millionaires and pay imposing a fee on first-time home buyers under Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan guarantee programs.
d) give the President 60-days to determine if he would approve the KeystoneXL pipeline project under the September 2008 permit and the August 2011 environmental impact study. If approved, up to four EPA regulations dealing with boilers and approved in March of this year would be suspended. (Have no idea what boilers have to do with the pipeline, but that's Congress for you...sticking stuff in legislation where it really doesn't belong).
2. H.R. 3630 was passed by the House and sent to the Senate, whereby the Senate decided to table the bill and instead vote on an amended bill, S. Amdt 1465 which only included:
a) 60-day review period for the President to approve KeystoneXL pipeline w/same caveats as HR 3630.
b) extend payroll tax cut for 60-days
3. House receives S. Amdt 1465 and rejects it presumably because Tea Party Republicans wanted the payroll tax cut extended for the full year.
Now, here's the thing...
Most people believe this payroll tax extension argument is nothing more than a redherring. You would be right. To that, I have to give tessaesque, AdamT and 00timh credit. IMO, they've come closest to figuring out the real deal behind all the political wrangling than anyone else. Truth is, the way HR 3630 was structured was a ploy by House Republicans but botched by Sen. McConnell.
Speaker Boehner wanted H.R. 3630 to pass because it would have done two things for the image of the Republican party:
1) Showed they weren't just for tax cuts for the wealthy, but that they could be compassionate towards the working-class as well.
2) Box the President into making a choice: Accept a bill that contained the payroll tax cut for the full-year OR follow through on his veto threat against any legislation that contained a provision on authorizing the KeystoneXL pipeline.
Sen. McConnell screwed him by ensuring that Sen. Reid and the Dems would not receive the super majority vote needed to pass HR 3630. So, instead he agrees with Reid to approve the amended bill, S. Amdt 1465 assuming the House would pass it.
Boehner initially voices his okay, but then recants once he learns that GOP Tea Partiers were against a 60-day stopgap measure on extending the payroll tax cut. Now, here's where the Republican leadership screwed themselves out of a moral victory...
Political end-fighting. In truth, McConnell's S. Amdt 1465 was toxic for the President. Either he approves it and accept the pipeline project or he rejects it and cost middle-class taxpayers a tax cut. (Anyone really think the 60-day payroll tax extension wouldn't have been extended for the full-year had the President accepted the pipeline project?) But there's more to this than most people would ordinarily consider. To that, I give credit to Gill. He's the only one who grasped the "process" associated with sending HR 3630 as well as S. Amdt 1465 up for a vote. In seeking a conference, Boehner (and Cantor) hoped to achieve gridlock on HR 3630 (which I'm sure they would have since the bill passed with very little Democrat support) and force the President to get involved in negotiations. The idea being to try to paint the President as inaffectual. Why do you think Boehner has been insisting that the President recall Congress in session? Problem here is the President can only call Congress back into session under "extraordinary occasions" per Art 2, Sect 3 of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, the question becomes: "Does extending the payroll tax cut meet the test of an 'extraordinary occasion'"?
This entire ordeal has turned out better for the President and much worse for Republicans. Not only does it illustrate that Boehner still doesn't have full control over the GOP in the House, it also shows that the Republican leadership moreso than the President are, in fact, playing politics.
Bottom Line: The GOP wound up tripping over their own feet on this one in their attempt to back the President into a corner. The stupid part is he was ready to capitulate on behalf of the middle-class...or was he?
You can review the vote count and both bills, HR 3630 and S. Amdt 1465 at GovTrack.us
EDIT: Just thought I'd add this quote from danarhea from the thread (Obama says Senate plan ‘only viable way’ to prevent tax hike).
Last edited by Objective Voice; 12-21-11 at 02:33 PM.
If the Boehner and the House intended to defeat the "temporary tax-cut legislation," perhaps somebody should have at least consulted with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the 38 other "lardass" Republican senators, before they voted for it.The Senate on Dec. 17 passed the temporary tax-cut legislation by a vote of 89-10 -- with the support of 39 Republicans, among them Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Yesterday the Republican-controlled House rejected the bipartisan Senate plan, which also extended unemployment benefits.
While the House Republicans’ position may play well with the Tea Party voting base, it hurts their image with the broader public, said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“I don’t think Senate Republicans look all that bad here, but I think House Republicans sure do,” said Duffy. “And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Senate guys just sort of throw them over the side.”
The GOP can't have it both ways, a majority of Senate Republicans support the bill, followed by a majority of House Republicans defeating the same bill.
This isn't just a Republican/Democrat confrontation, as our conservative "friends" would like to characterize it.
This reveals an open split within the GOP whereby the majority of House Republicans are repudiating the actions of a majority of Senate Republicans - over a compromise bill that Minority Leader McConnell helped negotiate!
Last edited by jgarden47; 12-21-11 at 02:50 PM.
It was well within the powers of the Republicans in the House to have voted and passed their own version of the payroll-tax extension and then have the 2 pieces of legislation reconciled.
Obviously, the Republicans in the House have a different political agenda their GOP counterparts in the Senate!
Last edited by jgarden47; 12-21-11 at 03:37 PM.
H.R.3630: Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 - U.S. Congress - OpenCongress
That doesn't look like the result of good compromising. That looks like voting mostly on party lines.
If our taxes go up on New Year's Day, it will be 100% on John Boehner and the House Republicans. Even Mitch McConnell knew better than to take that hit.