Payroll Tax Backlash Follows GOP Home To Districts

December 22, 2011 12:52 a.m.

Everyone knows House Republicans endured tremendous punishment all day Wednesday, making it clear to most observers that in the standoff over renewing this year’s payroll tax cut, they’ll have to blink.

But an even more important story, which escaped notice inside the Beltway, is that the lashings followed GOP members of Congress back to their states and districts.

Here’s a roundup.Republican New York State Senator Greg Ball in a letter to Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY):

They had everything they wanted in a deal handed to them with white gloves and a silver platter, yet still found a way to not support this critical tax cut for struggling families. Let me join the thousands of blue collar families who will be thanking our ultra-wealthy Congresswoman for the coal this Christmas. From a political perspective, I appreciate their efforts to extend these measures for a full year, but a two-month extension is an immediate necessity and one that should not be aborted due to dogma or political ideology. Along with some of her colleagues, the Congresswoman seems to be completely out of touch with working families and struggling small businesses. Ensuring that blue-collar families can rely on a tax cut in a time when so many families are feeling the ravages of a hemorrhaging economy is the right thing to do regardless of how the politics play out in the next election.

The editors of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

[W]e’d reserve a special lump of coal for [John] Boehner’s stocking.

Yes, the Senate deal was for a ridiculously short period of time, and it was merely putting off until February tough decisions that need to be addressed now. But its virtue lies in the fact that it did buy more time to reach those decisions. The Senate recognized that virtue by overwhelmingly approving the measure, 89-10. Only seven Republican senators, including Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, voted against the measure. Two others did not vote.

The editors of the Las Vegas Sun:

House Republicans’ refusal was purportedly because they didn’t want to “kick the can down the road” and instead wanted a year-long deal. The reality is that they are using the measure to try to gain political leverage. They have tied the extension of cuts and benefits to several major policy issues that have met with strong opposition….

It’s shameful to see this as a political game. We can’t understand what Republicans in the House, including Nevadans Mark Amodei and Joe Heck, are thinking. Certainly, it would be better to have a year-long deal, but the failure of this plan would be terrible for average Americans. The Senate understood that — it passed on an 89-10 vote with 39 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voting in favor of it.

The editors of the Charleston Gazette: “The action showed that GOP leaders care only about tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, not for middle-class U.S. families.”

The editors of Tulsa World:

As much spin as the House leadership tries to put on this, it is painfully clear that the tea party congressmen who came to Washington to all but shut down the government and run Obama out of town are hellbent to achieve their goals at any cost. Any hope of bipartisanship on such important issues is nonexistent. And this recalcitrance has shown itself over and over again.

A dark moment for House Republicans.

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