Boehner Leads Charge to Pass Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Friday, 09 Dec 2011 03:20 PM

By Dan Weil

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House Speaker John Boehner is doing his best to gain an extension of the payroll tax cut before year-end, Politico reports. He has to offer a plan that will be accepted both by conservatives in the House Republican caucus and Democrats in the Senate.

Helping Boehner’s cause is that Senate Democrats are considering dropping the idea of a millionaires tax, which is anathema to Republicans, and replacing it with a series of cost-cutting offsets that Republicans would support, knowledgeable sources tell Politico.

As for Boehner, he added some carrots to attract the GOP rank and file to a continuation of the tax cut. That includes restarting the Keystone XL oil pipeline, slashing jobless benefits by 50 percent, easing environmental rules, taking money away from the 2010 healthcare law, and curbing Medicare benefits for the wealthy.

But the strategy carries risk. Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama will undoubtedly reject the bill. Then Boehner will have to negotiate a compromise with Democrats and hope that he can get Republicans in the House on board. Boehner’s marketing theme to Republicans will likely be that any tax cut is a political victory and that the GOP will be forcing concessions from the president.

But it’s not a sure thing that Democrats will make all the concessions Boehner hopes for, and in that case, he’ll have a tough time selling the plan to House Republicans.



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