The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

House Republicans are, again, asking the President and Senator Reid to work with us and resolve our narrow differences and pass a yearlong payroll tax holiday. While President Obama spent time Christmas shopping yesterday, we could have sat down and come to an agreement. We can still get this done, and we have time to pass a responsible, yearlong payroll tax holiday that gives middle class families, working Americans, and small businesses some certainty going into the new year. House Republicans are here, we have selected conferees, and we are ready to work with President Obama and Senator Reid to provide a full year of tax relief for the middle class.

Today In History: In 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67—the "Fifth Symphony" premiered in Vienna.

Birthdays: Diane Sawyer, Gene Rayburn, Barbara Billingsley, Heather Donahue and Kirk Maltby

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: House Republicans Are Here and Ready To Work With Senate Democrats and President Obama

Speaker Boehner: There’s No Reason The American People Should Have To Settle For A Two Month Extension. "The Senate bill only goes for two months, but businesses send in their taxes every three, so employers will face more burdensome, costly reporting requirements. In fact, non-partisan payroll tax experts have told us that a two-month extension is 'unworkable,' and 'could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees.' As a result of the Senate bill's approach, many workers won't even see their tax cut in January. We can do better. People expect us to do better. With Americans still asking, 'where are the jobs?,' there's no reason they should have to settle for a two-month extension that will actually hurt small businesses. So we're here, calling on the President and Senator Reid to work with us to fix this mistake, extend payroll tax relief for a full year, and help put Americans back to work." The Playbook

Boehner Aide: The Differences Are Not Great, We Can Get A Yearlong Measure Passed By December 31st."The speaker told the president that his conference was elected to change the way Washington does business and that we should not waste the next ten days simply because it is an inconvenient time of year," the aide said. "He said that our differences are not so great that we cannot pass a full-year bill by December 31st." CBS News

Cantor: The House and Senate Aren’t Very Far Apart, It’s Time For Senators To Return To Washington and Negotiate. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, said Wednesday that the House and Senate were "not very far apart" on payroll tax holiday extension talks when discussions broke up. "Very narrow differences" remain, Cantor said, urging senators to return to negotiations. Richmond Times-Dispatch

Wrong Approach: The Two Month Extension Will Increase Compliance Costs On Small Businesses, Threaten Small Biz Tax Breaks, and Hurt Investment. The battle over extending a payroll-tax holiday is creating headaches for businesses, and highlights Washington's growing penchant for short-term fixes in tax policy. … Payroll executives complain that the two-month extension would pose problems for them to manage, even if it's followed by a full-year extension. "With the first of January now only two weeks away and payroll departments trying to meet year-end compliance mandates and reconciliation, there simply is insufficient time to implement this major change in withholding requirements," according to a letter to lawmakers this week from the National Payroll Reporting Consortium, a trade group. … The two-month extension could increase tax-compliance costs for small firms, which already pay proportionately more than large businesses to comply with tax rules, said Kevan Chapman, a spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business group. Particularly for small firms that do their own taxes or rely on software, "it's just going to be very complicated," he said. Small businesses also worry that several other narrowly targeted short-term business tax breaks won't be included in final package this year, said Molly Brogan, vice president for public affairs of the National Small Business Association. Tax experts and business advocates said the latest twists and turns create additional economic uncertainty for next year, hurting businesses' ability to plan and invest. The Wall Street Journal

Regulatory Row: EPA Unveils “Historic” Job Destroying Rule

New EPA Rule May Be Its Largest Job-Destroying Rule In History. At an unusual gala ceremony on the release of a major new Environmental Protection Agency rule yesterday, chief Lisa Jackson called it "historic" and "a great victory." And she's right: The rule may be the most expensive the agency has ever issued, and it represents the triumph of the Obama Administration's green agenda over economic growth and job creation. Congratulations. The so-called utility rule requires power plants to install "maximum achievable control technology" to reduce mercury emissions and other trace gases. But the true goal of the rule's 1,117 pages is to harm coal-fired power plants and force large parts of the fleet—the U.S. power system workhorse—to shut down in the name of climate change. The EPA figures the rule will cost $9.6 billion, which is a gross, deliberate underestimate. The Wall Street Journal

Reps. Issa & Jordan: The EPA Did Not Perform A Proper Analysis Of What Effect The Rule Will Have On Jobs. … the EPA also acknowledges the regulations will result in increased power grid strain: by its estimate, 14.7 gigawatts of power supply will be eliminated from the U.S. power grid when the rules take effect by 2015. That figure -- enough to power well over 10 million U.S. households -- is overly optimistic, according to other industry analyses. Several industry groups and some Republicans also disagree about the economic impact the new regulations will have. Reps. Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan, chairmen of the House Oversight Committee and subcommittee on Regulatory affairs, respectively, sent a letter to the White House earlier this week claiming the "EPA has failed to perform a proper analysis of the rule's impact on job creation" and "consider the rule's impact on grid reliability." CNN

Rep. Whitfield: Significant Job Loss Will Occur As A Result Of This Regulation. U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today in a Fox News interview said that new rules released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fail to take into account the number of jobs that would be lost and the effect the rules would have on the reliability of electricity delivery. “We do know that that there will be a significant loss of jobs because many coal power plants are going to be closed as a result of this regulation,” said Whitfield during his live interview. “EPA never considers the costs in the communities where the jobs are lost.”

House Dem: The Latest EPA Regulation Will Drive Up Energy Prices and Result In Job Loss. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said he had "serious concerns" about the new rule. "The rule is likely to drive up energy prices for American consumers and result in the loss of jobs for coal miners while doing nothing to address the growth in global emissions," Rahall said in a statement. The Charleston Gazette

Keeping Tabs

WaPo Fact Checker Puts Obama & Pelosi On The List Of The Biggest Pinocchios of 2011

President Obama: “I passed the biggest middle-class tax cut in history” - President Obama’s effort to pat himself on the back went arwy in September. Even the White House did not try too hard to defend this statement. The president at times got in trouble with overcongratulatory rhetoric--his claim that “Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency” earned him Three Pinocchios--but this comment really took the prize. The Washington Post

Nancy Pelosi: “House Republicans will deprive 6 million seniors of their meals” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made an absurd claim in the heat of the budget debate. First her staff said she meant meals, not seniors—though she said seniors three times—but then it turned out the number was invented out of thin air as well. Moreover, the administration, not Republicans, had already cut 36 million meals. As we put it: “In a city with overheated rhetoric, Pelosi’s statement ranks high on this year’s list of bloviated bluster.” The Washington Post

GOP Health Care Reforms