Leader Cantor On Payroll Tax, State Of Play

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Cantor On The Payroll Tax Cut, And The Real Difference Between Democrats And Republicans
Bearing Drift
Norman Leahy
December 19, 2011

House majority leader Eric Cantor was in town to talk to a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at the Tuckahoe YMCA today about government. As with any occasion involving children, interesting questions get asked. The best one at this event? A young boy asks “what’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans?”

Cantor and the other adults chuckled, and he replied that they could talk about that question all day. But outside the Y’s friendly confines, the differences between Republicans and Democrats continue to be on vivid display, as House Speaker John Boehner “flatly ruled out [House] approval” of the Senate’s version of the payroll tax cut extension.

The Senate bill would extend the payroll tax cut, and unemployment benefits, for two months. It also included a provision to accelerate an up-or-down decision on construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

This morning, Cantor dismissed the Senate’s action in much the same terms as Boehner. Cantor noted that the House passed its version of the bill last week. Unlike the Senate version, the House measure extended the payroll tax cut for an entire year.

In other words, the House did exactly what the President wanted. And for that, the White House and Senate Democrats cluck that Republicans are standing in the way of providing essential relief to hard working Americans…nevermind the details.

Cantor said that Republicans are trying to provide more certainty for employees and employers alike, something the Senate bill fails to do. He’s confident that there is plenty of time left for the House and Senate to negotiate a deal that is paid for, includes a year-long extension of the benefits all sides have already agreed to and retains the Keystone XL provision (which the Senate and White House have also accepted).

So why the drama? The House bill contained a number of provisions Democrats just couldn’t stomach. They swallowed the Keystone pipeline rider only because Big Labor wanted it as much as Republicans. But other items — like providing relief from EPA regulations on commercial boilers — were just too much for Senate Democrats.

So in answer to that boy’s question about the difference between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats won’t take “yes” for an answer.

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