GOP tries to pin payroll tax blame on Peterson and other Dems

WASHINGTON – After House Republicans rejected a bipartisan Senate bill that would extend the payroll tax cut for two months, the GOP’s campaign committee is launching calls in DFL Rep. Collin Peterson’s district trying to blame Peterson and other Democrats for the standoff.

The call script, provided by the National Republican Congressional Committee, accuses Peterson of supporting a tax increase on the middle class because he voted against the House Republicans’ first attempt to offer tax extension, a bill loaded with unrelated legislative riders that pushed other Republican priorities.

Still, it was House Republicans who voted to reject the Senate payroll tax bill, a measure that drew the support of 39 out of 47 Senate Republicans. With Senate leaders vowing not to bring the Senate back in session until January, the NRCC’s call campaign against Peterson appears to be part of a pre-emptive effort to spread the blame in case the payroll tax does rise on Jan. 1.

Ironically, Peterson told MPR News on Tuesday that while he has voted with his party on this issue, he would prefer to see the payroll tax cut expire as part of a broader effort to rein in the budget deficit.

The calls also come as Republicans unity is fracturing on the issue. Senate Republicans continue to denounce the House’s actions and on Wednesday morning, the usually conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page castigated the House GOP for its handling of the payroll tax cut.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans have reached new levels of absurdity. The attack on Rep Peterson follows this deteriorating chain of events:

    1. Boehner insists on adding the unrelated Keystone Pipeline to the tax cut extension bill

    2. The Senate adds the Keystone provision and passes a compromise bill by an 89-10 vote.

    3. The President says he’ll sign the Senate bill, even including Boehner’s Keystone provision, so the Senate recesses and goes home.

    4. Speaker Boehner, fearing the Senate bill’s passing the House, refuses to bring it to a vote.

    5. Boehner and the T Party caucus devise a House vote for which both “yes” and “no” votes reject the Senate bill. The House passes the T Party bill.

    6. Boehner demands that Senators come back from their home states to “negotiate” a new bill. Boehner and T Party Republicans try to drag the President into the mess they’ve created.

    7. The Republican Spin Machine, desperate to shed blame, starts up attacks on innocent bystanders like Representative Peterson.

    In 2011, Boehner and the T Party caucus have held this country hostage to 1) a threatened government shutdown, 2) a threatened US financial default, resulting in our first-ever credit downgrade, and 3) now this sabotage of the middle class tax cut. How much is enough?

  • Mark D

    This fight is all about Pennies on the dollar!

    The 2 months that this Payroll Tax Cut will be in effect would save Tax Payers that makes $50,000 about $160.00. If this was a Year long Cut it would save the Tax Payers @ $50K $960.00! The real fight is over how to pay for this Tax Cut (Secret) the only way is to CUT the Federal Government and that is looked at as a Fatal Trajectory by some in DC. So just sit back and play the game as the Government Intellectuals spend Millions to save You temporary pennies!

  • Mark D

    Ralph, The working class in America would have a better chance of the Dear leader, Kim Jong Il rising from the dead and putting on a Live Earth Concert, then they would have with President Obama signing a Bill with the Keystone XL on it. (Read The Bill)..

    Obamas EPA Goons are already in North Dakota thinking of ways to shut that down over Fracking……

  • Minnesota Central

    Call me CONFUSED.

    Did the House not pass their bill by more than enough votes … they did not need Representative Peterson.

    Did the Senate not pass it’s own version and the GOP-managed House demand a conference committee ?

    What does Representative Peterson have to do with it ?

    Why didn’t the GOP blame Jeff Flake – a Republican from Arizona – who was one of the House members to vote against the House’s leadership …. oh, could that be because he spoke the TRUTH ….

    Mr. FLAKE.

    One year ago, Mr. Speaker, many of us stood in this Chamber and pleaded with the leadership on both sides of the aisle not to put this payroll tax holiday in place. It was bad policy to put it in place, and it’s bad policy to extend it. By the end of this year, we will have taken a quarter of a trillion dollars from the Social Security trust fund. And for what purpose?

    In our candid moments, we must confess that this effort is more toward securing votes than securing economic growth.

    We may point fingers across the aisle, but it’s a pox on both of our Houses. Democrats paint themselves as champions of Social Security; yet they blissfully endorse taking another $120 billion out of the Social Security trust fund. We Republicans paint ourselves as fierce guardians of the public purse; yet we’re eager to pretend that the payroll tax holiday is paid for by fleeting fees and phantom spending cuts.

    We keep hearing that we’re kicking the can down the road. We’re $15 trillion in debt. Ten thousand baby boomers retire every year into a program that is already running in the red. Mr. Speaker, we’re out of road. The responsible thing to do is to not extend this payroll tax holiday for 2 months or for 12 months.

    Representative Flake (who is seeking a Senate seat in 2012 and could have easily kept quiet) spoke the TRUTH … in fact, his message seems to be the same one that Erik Paulsen told MPR in September …

    “I’m hesitant to support a simple extension of this tax cut because I’m not convinced it’s going to result in meaningful employment for folks, and I’m concerned we’re not going to see that going forward. I’d much rather have a longer-term solution,” said Paulsen, who sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. “You know, I think we saw this with George Bush’s tax rebates. It didn’t stimulate the economy.”

    The Wall Street Journal OpEd (which the Daily Digest has a link) clearly lays the blame … They say the short extension makes no economic sense, but then neither does a one-year extension. No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year’s tax holiday has demonstrated. The entire exercise is political, but Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics.

    Last time I checked Representative Peterson was a Democrat (of the Blue Dog persuasion) … why blame him because the Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics. ?

    Besides, isn’t the real story here that the GOP saved some money on robo-calls as they did not get to spend it blasting Tim Walz … Representative Walz voted with the Republicans.

    Paulsen, Kline, and Cravaack exhibited NO GUTS … Walz is taking heat from some of his supporters … give me a guy who takes a position and not somebody that sits in the backbench waiting for the Leader to tell them what to do. The country needs more representatives like Jeff Flake and Tim Walz.