GOP Surrenders On Payroll Tax

by Timothy Noah | February 13, 2012

Last week I expressed mild astonishment that the House GOP was once again holding up extending the payroll tax cut by making various partisan demands ("GOP Payroll-Tax Seppuku"). I suggested that this would work itself out soon, with Democrats probably giving ground on freezing federal pay and raising premiums on Medicare's more affluent recipients, because the Republicans would surely see that (as Marsellus Wallace might remind them) pride goeth before the fall. Apparently the House GOP leadership is more familiar with Pulp Fiction and Proverbs 16:18 than I realized, because it just caved. It now supports extending the payroll-tax cut with no conditions--not even a means to pay for it. So the Democrats didn't have to make the concessions I anticipated.

Politico notes that it still isn't clear that the House rank and file will go along with the deal. It also isn't clear, if the Democrats take the deal, whether the Republicans will let them extend unemployment benefits. Plus the "doctor fix" (i.e., blocking a draconian automatic cut in Medicare reimbursement rates) remains to get done. So the Democrats' victory over insane Republican intransigence may be only symbolic. But symbolic or not, it sure is sweet.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/timothy-noah/100709/gop-surrenders-payroll-tax