Paul Ryan: Yes, Payroll Tax Fight Hurt GOP

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With the ink drying on a final deal, one of the highest profile Republicans in Congress said the December and February fights over extending the payroll tax cut and other expiring provisions through the end of the year have hurt Republicans — at least in the short term.

“It’s a tough issue because they had to compromise… But yeah, I think the payroll tax deal, from a political perspective, certainly caused damage because it muddled the differences [between the parties,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “It got us down into a skirmish, where the differences got muddled, which is I think what the President loves.”Ryan said he believes that the President’s campaign against a do-nothing Congress will run out of steam and that the public will ultimately come to believe that the Democratically-controlled Senate is most responsible for gridlock in Washington. But for the time being, Republicans are bearing the political pain.

“I think we’ll get through this moment and the dust will settle and people will see the differences,” Ryan said. “But sure, this episode, meaning not just today, but going back for the stuff that happened at the turn of the year muddies the differences.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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