NYT reports House GOP members likely to reject the Senate’s overwhelming support (89-10) for the short-term extension of the payroll tax cut and the extension of unemployment benefits.
The impasse began over the weekend when House Republicans said they would reject the Senate measure, which passed 89 to 10. It would, for two months, extend the payroll tax cut, continue unemployment benefits and prevent a cut in fees paid to doctors who accept Medicare, allowing lawmakers and the White House time to work out their differences on how to pay for a year-long extension.
Many rank and file Republicans have questioned the underlying concept of continuing the tax break — because the payroll tax reduction would reduce revenue to the Social Security trust fund, which would be replaced by payments from the Treasury. But House Republican leaders said on Monday that their objection was not to the tax cut itself, but to the temporary nature of the fix.
“We don’t need to be governing in two-month increments,” Representative Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican and majority leader, said on CNN. “People can’t live their lives like that.”
Now, policy questions aside, I’m just going to make a public opinion prediction: support for the House GOP is going to plummet towards the end of January, 2012, if this doesn’t pass. People have adjusted their spending patterns now that they’ve gotten used to the payroll tax cut putting more cash in their bring-home paycheck. Christmas spending plans are (unsurprisingly) therefore up 22% over last year. People are down on the economy, but they’ve got extra money in their pocket and they’re spending it.
Or, worse, they’re charging up the ol’ Visa card and when they get their bill in early January they’re going to be shocked to find that (a) they spent so much and (b) their paycheck is lighter than it was all last year. Never mind that the change isn’t huge, never mind that they really ought to have already know this, never mind that some people ought not to be very surprised to find that Unemployment check isn’t coming in mid-January.
I expect popular backlash.