The House GOP's Payroll Tax Punt

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 13 2012 2:20 PM

The House GOP's Payroll Tax Punt

Congress had scheduled one big fight this month: A negotiation over the payroll tax cut, over whether or how to extend it through 2012. The Great Payroll Fight of 2011 had ended with a conference committee, which would use the time granted by a two-month extension to come up with something great.

Today, while we were all distracted by the budge (or, more realistically, by videos of cats doing things), the House GOP... announced a possible punt.

Because the president and Senate Democratic leaders have not allowed their conferees to support a responsible bipartisan agreement, today House Republicans will introduce a backup plan that would simply extend the payroll tax holiday for the remainder of the year while the conference negotiations continue regarding offsets, unemployment insurance, and the "doc fix."
Advertisement

Victory for Democrats? No, don't be ridiculous. Barack Obama is on the ballot in 10 months, and the Democratic goal is to keep as much stimulus churning into the economy as possible. The payroll tax cut is part of that. But so is the unemployment benefit extension. In the deep of the 2011 negotiations, Republicans wanted to extend those benefits while reforming them, requiring more tests for eligibility and shrinking the amount of time that workers could take advantage of them. Democrats can't quite afford to let that expire. If they end up losing in this months negotiations, Republicans have decided to keep the mantle of tax-cutting while handing off the much-less-popular-unless-you're-an-economist unemployment insurance debate.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.