The one thing everyone in Congress seems to still agree on is that everyone wants to extend the payroll tax holiday past the end of the year. The problem, as always, is there is still no agreement on how exactly to pay for it.
The Senate Republicans and Democrats have both pushed bills now that have been blocked by the other party, resulting in yet another political deadlock. The GOP continues to balk at the idea of asking those who earn more than one million dollars a year to have a small tax increase to make up for the lost revenue, and the Democrats are still not comfortable with paying via an even longer federal employee pay freeze and potential government layoffs.
But the utter inability to find common ground doesn’t seem to have anyone too concerned at the moment. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that a compromise will be hitting the senate floor on Monday morning, although no one, not even the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has any idea what that might entail.
“…I think it’s up to him to define his plan, to discuss his plan,” said Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, speaking on Fox News Sunday. “But it will be paid for. It’ll be paid for in a way that is credible and serious…It will represent a compromise from what was voted on last week.”
A compromise may be even more difficult to create, though, when some factions of the GOP are demanding that the full amount of the holiday be paid for in the year in which it will take place. “The question the American people ought to ask is, ‘Where is the backbone in Washington to actually pay for these extensions in the year in which the money is spent?’ ” asks Republican Senator Tom Coburn.
The real question will be how long the Republicans can continue to stand in the way of a what, if not renewed, essentially will turn into a tax increase on a majority of Americans, all in the defense of the country’s richest. As the 2012 elections get even closer, eventually the party will need to balance the needs of their constituents with that of their donors.
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