Jobs and Economy

Politico on GOP Pledge: "They'll be doing the exact opposite this week."

Wanted to be sure you saw this article in today’s Politico highlighting how Republicans are struggling to live up to their Pledge by packaging unrelated and controversial items to a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday, extend unemployment insurance, and fix the Medicare physician payment rate. Democrats remain willing to work with Republicans, but attaching unrelated, controversial provisions in order to satisfy their conservative base is not the way to address these must-pass items:

Key Excerpts

“The year-end rush to extend the payroll tax holiday has House Republicans struggling to keep up with a key promise from last year’s election as they bundle together a hodgepodge of issues before skipping town for Christmas.”

“In the Pledge to America, released by GOP leadership under much fanfare in September 2010, Republicans said they would ‘end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time,’ they said.”

“They’ll be doing the exact opposite this week.”

“The year-end legislative package centered on extending the payroll tax has turned into a holiday tree filled with legislative ornaments ranging from the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the sale of broadband spectrum, an extension of jobless benefits, changes to Medicare and easing of certain environmental standards. On top of that, the House will also try to clear a nearly $1 trillion catch-all year-end spending bill — the type of appropriations package that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) himself has decried as inadequate.”

“Whether it’s a ‘must pass’ or not, the package of bills is seen as critical for both parties: If Congress doesn’t act, taxes will go up on more than 100 million families, jobless benefits will expire and doctors who treat Medicare patients will have their fees slashed.”

“The argument is now over how the government will pay for it and what will ride alongside it for Republicans to say they tried to create jobs.”

“Here’s where things stand: Top GOP aides say the Republicans’ Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act represents their last offer. The legislation extends the payroll tax holiday, jobless benefits and the ‘doc fix,’ in addition to other sweeteners. To blunt conservative angst about the bill and to offset its cost, GOP leaders tacked on language to force President Barack Obama to restart the Keystone XL pipeline project, in addition to easing environmental standards on boilers and slashing money from the Democrats’ health care law.”

“But there’s still blowback on the pipeline issue. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), also appearing on NBC, said flatly that the ‘pipeline is probably not gonna sell.’”