Most media outlets are not telling the whole story behind the payroll tax-cut extension: most have highlighted the tax cut itself, how House Republicans were blocking the extension, and how they recently caved under pressure, handing Obama a major political victory.
Democrats are celebrating the Republicans’ caving for good reason, because there’s way more to the story than just Republicans blocking tax cuts. The Wall Street Journal reports,
Rank-and-file frustration has existed all year, and never really left even when Boehner tried to accommodate the concerns of his restive freshmen. The payroll-tax cut battle put a fine point on the caucus’s broader concerns about government spending and budget gimmicks, in part because the $33 billion, two-month package is set to be paid for with fees charged by mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over 10 years.
“The policy is horrific,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) He said that “increasing the costs of mortgages hurts homeowners of all incomes,” adding “it’s hard to figure out how the senators could have done worse–all for two months.”
Meanwhile, Boehner’s procedural tactics are just as suspect:
House speaker agreed to pass the two-month extension on Friday morning by unanimous consent, a fast-track procedural maneuver that guarantees passage unless lawmakers book plane tickets and fly back to Washington in time to object.
“Given the late hour of notification, there’s no way I can make it,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kansas). “I’m disappointed. That’s not the process by which I thought we would consider things like this,” he said, adding “this is the kind of stuff that people hate about Washington.”
In other words, Republicans have “caved” by agreeing to increase mortgage fees for 10 years in order to fund a mere two months worth of tiny tax cuts. Instead of taxes being raised January 1, they go up March 1 instead, while the higher mortgage fees endure for a decade. Brilliant. And to score this great political achievement, the House speaker is willing to use Pelosi- and Reid-style procedural tricks to exclude the toughest opposition from the vote. Epic.
And this is why the move is indeed a major political victory for the radical Left: because the Republicans are acting just like them.