McCain: Payroll Tax Impasse Put Republicans in 'Box Canyon'

Friday, 23 Dec 2011 04:38 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Sen. John McCain says although he favors extending the payroll tax cut for one year — or even longer — he voted for the Senate’s two-month continuance because a nay vote ultimately would have been a stain on the Republican Party. McCain also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday that the extension debate had put the GOP in a “box canyon,” as the finances of some 160 million Americans were at stake.
 
“There’s a lot of things that I want, but us not getting the agreement that was made in the Senate and with the president through the House creates the appearance with the American people that the Republican Party is opposed to the payroll tax cut,” McCain said. “[About] 160 million Americans are affected by it, not to mention . . . the unemployment insurance.
 
“We have not played this thing well — we need to get an agreement — and we ought to strive for a year or even longer, long-term agreement,” the Arizona Republican said. “But right now, unfortunately, we are in a box canyon.”

Van Susteren noted there would not have been a need for an extension if Congress and President Barack Obama had completed work on the legislation before deciding to close down for the holiday recess and the inactivity also cannot sit well with the American people. McCain placed the conundrum at Obama’s front door.

“Usually, in crises like this, the president leads . . . this is the fifth president that I’ve served under — every other president, Republican and Democrat, if faced with this kind of an impasse, would be calling the leaders over to the White House, sit down, and iron this out this,” McCain said.

“This president decides to go shopping to get a toy for his dog. The president should be leading, and he’s not — and he’s exploiting this issue for short-term political gain,” he said. “And yes, the American people have every reason to be frustrated — and I believe every incumbent is in danger right now — and every incumbent should be.”

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