McConnell to House Republicans: Come On and Cave Already

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 22 2011 10:51 AM

McConnell to House Republicans: Come On and Cave Already

The GOP's leader in the Senate is asking House Republicans to give up the fight on the payroll tax holiday, and fight again in two months. The statement.

The House and Senate have both passed bipartisan bills to require the President to quickly make a decision on whether to support thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs through the Keystone XL pipeline, and to extend unemployment insurance, the temporary payroll tax cut and seniors’ access to medical care. There is no reason why Congress and the President cannot accomplish all of these things before the end of the year. House Republicans sensibly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms. These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both. Working Americans have suffered enough from the President’s failed economic policies and shouldn’t face the uncertainty of a New Year’s Day tax hike. Leader Reid should appoint conferees on the long-term bill and the House should pass an extension that locks in the thousands of Keystone XL pipeline jobs, prevents any disruption in the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions, and allows Congress to work on a solution for the longer extensions.
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I'll translate: The House, which never held an up-or-down vote on the two-month punt, should do it, and pass it. They should blink, and settle for the Senate compromise that, at least, lets Republicans hold on to the Keystone XL issue. And I, Mitch McConnell, am sufficiently worried and annoyed about the image of Republicans being responsible for tax cuts and unemployment insurance experiation that I want to avoid it and fight again later.

This statement appeared just as House Republicans were wrapping a bland press conference about how nothing, no, nothing, was changing.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.