Friday, December 23, 2011
Faced with criticism from across the political spectrum and abandoned by Senate allies, House Republicans bowed to political reality Thursday and agreed to a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans. After promising to hold their breath, hoping to die and sticking a needle in their eye until they got further cuts to programs benefitting those in need, their bluff was called. The tax break is backed by President Barack Obama, and was initially brought up as part of his job stimulation program. The break involves keeping payroll taxes down by 4.2 percent until February, continuing extended unemployment benefits and maintaining the present Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. A similar deal was rejected by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives on Tuesday after being approved by the Senate. This time House Republicans supported the bill since their political suicide was pointed out to them by their wingnut collegues in the Senate. When Mitch McConnell becomes a voice of reason, you know you've really lost control of the conversation.