Boehner Says Two-Month Tax Cut Bill ‘Just Kicking Can Down the Road’

Dec 18, 2011 3:21pm

A day after the Senate voted 89-10 to extend the payroll tax cut by two months, Republicans in the House are signaling their displeasure with the short-term fix, saying action should have been taken to resolve the issue for the whole year.

“I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road. The American people are tired of that, frankly I’m tired of it,” House Speaker John Boehner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But it’s not just the speaker who has problems with supporting the temporary extension, which the House is expected to take up on Monday.

Sen. Roy Blunt, who was just elected to the Republican leadership in the Senate, said that even though he voted to pass the two-month extension, the House is right to want a year-long extension.

“I had a couple of calls from some of my buddies in the House in the morning saying we don’t want to do this, we’d like the one-year extension,” Blunt said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Still some, like President’ Obama’s lead economic adviser Gene Sperling, are optimistic that Congress will close the deal before Christmas.

“I think that it is very unlikely that the House would disrupt this compromise — overwhelming compromise — six days before Christmas,” he said.

Failing to pass the tax cut would likely cost the average American family more than $1,000 over the course of the year. Some economist say the tax cut will encourage spending and provide a vital boost to the economy, although other economists and several lawmakers dispute this.

The president in addition to extending the payroll tax cut is for extending unemployment insurance.  The expensive but helpful unemployment insurance has been extended for two years now as the country recovers from the pains of the 2008 financial crisis.

Most economists say that like the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment insurance should help the economy by putting money into the hands of people who are likely to spend it immediately.  In the past, both measures have receive bi-partisan support.

“It had 89 votes.  The compromise to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment for 60 days into next year had 90 percent support,” Sperling said. “The only things that get 90 percent support in the United States Senate these days are Mom, apple pie and chocolate ice cream.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a group that raises money for Democratic House candidates, released a statement today blasting House Republicans and characterizing Boehner’s position as a “middle class mugging.”

“This is a partisan middle class mugging by extreme House Republicans,” DCCC chairman Steve Israel said. “At a time when hard-working families need every dollar in their pockets, House Republicans and their Tea Party extremists will have mugged $1,000 from the middle class.”

The White House also fired back at Boehner and House Republicans, saying that while the ultimate goal is to extend the cuts for the full year, the House should approve the Senate bill to avoid any interruption in the tax cuts.

“After months of opposition, we are glad that Republicans were finally showing a willingness to not raise taxes on middle class families,” White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement released this afternoon. “As the President said yesterday, it is inexcusable to do anything less than extend this tax cut for the entire year, and Congress must work on a one year deal.  But they should pass the two month extension now to avoid a devastating tax hike from hitting the middle class in just 13 days.  It’s time House Republicans stop playing politics and get the job done for the American people.”

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