The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

No one wants a short term extension of the payroll tax holiday. The House is still here in Washington ready to work, and President Obama is right down the street in the White House. Let’s work together to resolve our differences – which are not very great – and extend the payroll tax cut for a full year to give certainty to hardworking taxpayers and middle class families. As Leader Cantor told MSNBC this morning, “President Obama is still in town. I hope he's not going to go on vacation, leaving the American people in a lurch, and that he can join with us in trying to tell Harry Reid to come back to town so we can assure the American people that their taxes are not going to go up for a year.”

Today In History: On this day in 1974, Harry Chapin earned his one and only #1 pop hit when his bittersweet story-song "Cat's In The Cradle" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Birthdays: Kiefer Sutherland, Ray Romano, Samuel Jackson, and Jane Kaczmarek

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: House Republicans Are Here, The President Is Here, Let's Pass Yearlong Tax Relief For The Middle Class

Speaker Boehner: It’s Time For President Obama To Call On Harry Reid & Senate Democrats To Return To Washington. Despite all this, Senate Democrats are refusing to return from vacation and negotiate with the House. We hope the president, who has repeatedly said he won't go on vacation until this matter is resolved, will urge Senate Democrats to change their minds. He should call on them to appoint negotiators so we can extend payroll tax relief for a full year and help create jobs. Otherwise, Senate Democrats' refusal to negotiate means Americans' taxes going up on Jan. 1. It should not come to that, and I'm confident it won't. USA Today

Boehner: A Two Month Extension Is Unworkable, It’s Time To Provide Certainty and Pass A Yearlong Extension. This fall, President Obama called for a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, and the House passed a year-long extension, with bipartisan support. Our bill would also extend and reform unemployment insurance, protect seniors' access to doctors through Medicare, and help create jobs. Unfortunately, instead of passing the House bill or any other year-long extension, Democratic leaders in the Senate passed a two-month measure and left town for the holidays. Washington doesn't get to punt on this one. … Non-partisan payroll tax experts have told Congress that a two-month extension is "unworkable," and that it "could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees." … The American people expect Congress to pass a one-year extension, and we should not wait to finish this work. We should complete it immediately. That's why the House has voted to begin a formal conference committee to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills. USA Today

VIDEO – Leader Cantor: The President Is Right Down The Street – Let’s Get This Done. People are sitting there across America scratching their heads wondering what Washington is doing. And by the very fact that the President sits probably a mile away from here down Pennsylvania Avenue and we're sitting here, people are wondering, ‘Why can't they just get together and talk and work this out?’ And that's exactly what we're asking to do. The differences between us are not very great. All of us, as the Speaker indicated, want to make sure that people have tax relief certainty for the year. We can do this. We've got time. Let's get to work. Press Conference

VIDEO – Cantor: What The Senate Has Passed Is Unworkable, Harry Reid Has A Decision To Make. What happened today is the bill itself is back into the hands of the Senate. Now, Harry Reid has got a decision to make in whether he is going to come back, appoint conferees so we can get the work done for the people. And you know, I just come from a standpoint to say, Look, what the Senate passed is unworkable. You know, the people that are in the business of payroll administration have said that prescription of a 60-day extension could cause increased uncertainty and costs and could actually hurt workers and small businesses. And I think right now, given the economic times and the tough year that people have had, they don't need that. On The Record

VIDEO – Cantor: A Yearlong Extension – It's About Giving Working Families The Certainty They Deserve. One of the things that president said was that there are extraneous issues involved and that's why the House Republicans have taken the position that we are. And that's just not the case. I mean, really, the difference here is a year versus 60 days. That's it, because the other issues have really been resolved in the prior discussions. And all we're talking about now is are we going to give working families the certainty that they deserve, or are we going to ask working people to operate on a two-month basis? And I think the latter is really an untenable position. How do people operate with their expenses and managing their household budgets when they don't know what their tax liability is going to be? On The Record

House Republicans Are Pushing The Right Policy – It’s Time For Senator Reid To Act In The Taxpayers' Interest. the House voted to reject a Senate plan for temporarily extending the payroll-tax cut and subsequently moved to recess, and they deserve credit for doing so. This move does not eliminate the possibility of extending the tax cut, which expires at the end of December: The House previously passed a bill extending the cut for a full year, and that bill is good policy. … The House bill is paid for by, among other things, extending the federal pay freeze, reforming government-employee pensions, introducing modest means-testing to Medicare, and stepping up (sadly necessary) efforts to prevent millionaires and illegal immigrants from improperly receiving government checks. Such reforms should hardly be controversial, let alone a cause for which Senate Democrats are willing to make 170 million American taxpayers suffer. The bill contains more conservative provisions as well, such as checking the devolution of unemployment insurance into de facto welfare, undoing onerous EPA regulations, and implementing a two-year Medicare “doc fix” partially offset by further defunding of Obamacare. But as Speaker Boehner implied in a letter to President Obama, there is room for negotiation on the contours of these provisions — if the Senate will appoint negotiators to join House Republicans in a conference committee, something they have so far been unwilling to do. We don’t suspect this will last long. On one side of the table sit the House of Representatives, the president, the taxpayers, and time. On the other sits Harry Reid, who could be in for a very blue Christmas. National Review

What Does Harry Reid Have Against The Middle Class? With the standoff over the payroll-cut tax package now set, and just 10 days for Congress to act, what is Harry Reid thinking? … “The American people are beginning to wonder what the leader of the other body has against the middle class,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. National Journal

Senate Democrats Refuse To End Their Vacation To Prevent A Taxes From Going Up On The Middle Class. And Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) flatly said, “No” when asked whether the Senate will return to Washington. Politico


Majority Of Virginians Say President Obama Doesn’t Deserve A Second Term. Voters disapprove 51 - 42 percent of the job he is doing as president and by 53 - 41 percent Virginia voters say he does not deserve a second term in the Oval Office. Quinnipiac

Keeping Tabs

He’s The 4th Best President … Possibly Second or Third Best If You Listen To Him Tell It. Mr. Obama was recently asked by CBS's Steve Croft on "60 Minutes" to reflect on his Presidency to date, and the outtakes of the interview that aired last Sunday have been posted online. "The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments," Mr. Obama responded. "As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign-policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president—with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln—just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we've got a lot more work to do." You've got to love the "possible" in that sentence about FDR and Lincoln. Perhaps Mr. Obama would have dropped the diminishing modifier if old Abe hadn't taken so darn long to free the slaves or win the Civil War. It's also notable that poor George Washington didn't make the Obama cut. Historians may consider Washington to be America's "indispensable man," but he never did campaign on a promise to lower sea levels. The Wall Street Journal

GOP Health Care Reforms