Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
So are Republicans going to agree to extend the middle-class payroll tax cut that expires at the end of the year? The LA Times reports:
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met behind closed doors with rank-and-file lawmakers Friday morning, but opposition to continuing the payroll tax break still runs high among conservatives in the House, showing the difficulty Boehner will face in drawing backing for the measure.
...."I'm just not sold on this payroll tax extension, this unemployment extension" said Rep. Allen West, a freshman Republican from Florida. Like many foes of the payroll tax break, he said he opposes the way it reduces the revenue stream to Social Security — even if those funds are replenished with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.
I hope no one is really surprised about this. The modern Republican Party is interested in two things: tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for the poor. This doesn't fit into either category.
Of course, there is one other thing they're interested in: anything that Barack Obama opposes. That's why Boehner has proposed a sweetener to the payroll tax cut bill: legislation that would advance the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama recently postponed. Apparently, though, even the prospect of giving Obama the finger over the pipeline isn't enough to overcome Republican opposition to something that's neither a tax cut for the rich nor a spending cut for the poor. The rank and file still aren't biting.
Note to the middle class: the GOP is just not that into you. Maybe it's time to call off the relationship?