Payroll Tax cut deal (with Keystone pipeline) set...

Wow, here's more great work (sarcasm) by the GOP House/Senate Leadership. To get the following for 2 months and putting it right back into the forefront during the 2012 campaign and therefore to allow the Demoncrats BS to demagogue the issue with the 'Republicans only really want Tax cuts for the wealthy" BS and/or to put forth a CINO concept that Democrats are for Tax Cuts (yeah, right, tax pandering to those who already don't pay Federal Income Tax). Yes, the Keystone pipeline aspect is wonderful, but Obama wanted it anyway to placate his Union base and NOW the GOP gives Obama the excuse to give his Enviro-whacko base that it was forced on him (the usual, talking out of both sides of his hind-side).....

see the whole YahooNEWS/Reuters story at:

Divided lawmakers muster modest tax deal">

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Deeply divided U.S. lawmakers on Friday eked out an agreement to extend payroll tax cuts for just two months, and only after Democrats bowed to Republican demands on a controversial oil pipeline.

The deal, which still needs approval of the full Senate and House of Representatives, fell far short of President Barack Obama's push for a one-year extension of the tax relief and long-term unemployed benefits to boost the country's fragile economic recovery.

The surprisingly modest accord will likely do nothing to dispel concerns of American voters and investors of deep dysfunction in the U.S. capital. It also creates more uncertainty about Washington's ability to steer the nation through global economic turbulence.

Partisan rancor has derailed efforts to forge a deficit reduction plan, brought the government to the brink of a shutdown three times this year and led to a downgrade of by Standard & Poor's of the United States' coveted AAA credit rating in August.

Democrats did not come close to getting the legislation they initially sought, but they put a brave face on the deal they agreed to, saying it gives them another opportunity early next year to fight for a payroll tax cut for wage earners and tax hikes on the wealthy to pay for it -- two arguments that play well with Democratic voters.

It was not clear how Friday's deal would affect Obama, but he has faced persistent criticism from his base of liberal-leaning voters for caving in to Republican demands on policy issues ranging from tax hikes and spending cuts to environmental protections.

"At one minute to midnight and the end of the year the Democrats appear to have conceded two significant issues on the payroll tax cut and they got a measly two months extension in return," David Gergen, an adviser to two former Democratic and two Republican presidents, told Reuters.

To try to break a stalemate in the payroll tax cut negotiations, Obama's fellow Democrats first dropped their proposal to pay for it with a surtax on millionaires. Then on Friday they abandoned what had appeared to be a non-negotiable demand -- for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas to be kept separate from the payroll tax cut issue.

The measure would require Obama to make a decision on allowing construction of Keystone within 60 days or declare that "oil trade with Canada is not in the national interest of the United States," according to an aide to Republican Senator Richard Lugar.


Obama recently put off a decision on the pipeline until 2013 while the government studies alternative routes. Many interpreted that move as a way to appease his environmental base in his bid to win re-election in November 2012.

The deal immediately drew fire from environmentalists, who said it was an example of House Republicans holding the federal government hostage on behalf of the oil industry.

"We're disappointed that the president seemingly signed off on this deal, but we expect that he's going to live up to his promise ... that he will turn down the permit for the pipeline," said Daniel Kessler, spokesman for Tar Sands Action, a group that opposes the project.

Kessler said he expected members from his group would reprise their protests about the project at Obama's campaign offices across the country.

In a defense of what appeared to be a major concession to Republicans, an Obama administration official said the deal would effectively mean the Keystone project would not go ahead.

The official noted that the State Department has said it could not make a decision on the project within 60 days and any attempt to force its hand would likely result in a decision to deny a permit for the project.

But on Capitol Hill, Republicans were quick to tout the deal as a major coup.

"I think the Keystone pipeline component is certainly a very large victory," said Republican Senator Bob Corker.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters: "We extended the payroll tax holiday as far as we could get credible payfors to pay for it." He added, "We'll be back discussing the same issues in a couple of months."

That would mean another contentious battle in the midst of the 2012 primary season, which kicks off on January 3 in Iowa.

"If Republicans want to be back here in two months trying to explain why they don't want to give middle class families a tax cut yet again, that's their choice, we're happy to have that conversation," a Democratic aide said. "We feel that's a home turf game for us."


Read more of the YahooNEWS/Reuters story at:


 see related: Do nothing Senate still fails to pass Budget, so it’s Continuing Re...

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Comment by Joseph M Lenard (JLenardDetroit) on January 2, 2012 at 3:46am

The Payroll Tax Break: Americans Would Rather Tax Millionaires Than Cut Government Workers

As Congress battles over extending the payroll tax reduction, and with disagreements in the last few days between House and Senate on the length of the extension threatening to result in increased taxes on January 1, the Economist/YouGov Poll finds Americans wanting to keep the reduction in place. 


In fact, while half want to keep the rate at 4.2%, where it has been in 2011, nearly one in five would lower it even further. There is bi-partisan agreement on this. 

And when it comes to how to pay for the reduction, more Americans favor increasing taxes on millionaires than favor cutting the government workforce and freezing its pay. 43% favor reductions for federal employees; 52% would tax millionaires. 


These options produce partisan reactions. Republicans narrowly oppose taxing millionaires to pay for the payroll tax cut extension; Democrats oppose limits on the federal workforce. Independents favor both options. 

Photo source: Press Association

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

Comment by patriotm1 on December 26, 2011 at 1:13am

Boehner and McConnel are inept and need to be replaced with real leaders and communicators who can deliver a direction and message in the face of unrelenting propoganda.

Comment by Joseph M Lenard (JLenardDetroit) on December 22, 2011 at 3:30pm

I just called Mitch McConnell's office (202-224-2541, plus followed up with online contact post to him) to THANK HIM for the SELL-OUT... I told them- "normally we have to wait until Conference/Reconciliation before they sell us out - THANKS for siding with Harry Reid and selling us out right up front... I'm sure it saved them a lot of time, and was much more efficient, so they could evacuate the Senate and go home for Vaction - running, like the WI Democrats did, from their duties!"

Comment by Joseph M Lenard (JLenardDetroit) on December 21, 2011 at 11:51am

Payroll tax update: DO NOTHING Senate Democrats refuse to do job YET AGAIN...

Senate Democrats; just as they refused to follow Constitutional, Legal, Rules, etc, ORDER and pass a Budget for more than 900+ days; refuse to attend Conference/Reconciliation for the Payroll Tax cuts order of business. The Democrats, which control the Senate and therefore the committees, have walked out of DC (just as they ran from WI to stop Governmental business) in an abject refusal to complete their duties as outlined by Congressional Regular Orders/Business.

Call your Senators office and demand they DO THEIR JOBS so your Job isn't affected; by this Tax uncertainty; and the economy takes another hit. DO NOTHING SENATE DEMOCRATS must be held accountable for their blatant ignoring of the Constitution, Laws, Rules, etc....

see: for more.

Comment by Joseph M Lenard (JLenardDetroit) on December 19, 2011 at 11:20am

House to nix deal?

Could they be finding that principled stand against this gimmick? or are they just looking to kick the can…. er… deal… further down the road past the 2012 election. While the later is understandable as an “election strategy” it still does not address the fundamental arguments against having the Tax holiday and harming the Social Security system funding in-balance.



This smells of a “Senator Aricept” (John McCain-iac) bipartisanship disease betrayal/deal…. The HOUSE version was for a full year and the Senate Republicans allowed the Democrats to pull this BS.


This will most likely be resolved in Conference... not that that bodes well, as far too often the House versions land up on the short end of the stick (in the name of BiPartisanship disease).

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