President Obama has received a political lift after House Republicans have refused to come to an agreement on payroll taxes. The House Republicans have even received accusations from leading conservatives that they are mishandling the issue.
At stake is the continued payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and aid for long-term unemployed Americans. These payroll tax cuts will expire on Dec. 31.
While Republicans are receiving the criticism for this latest blunder, Obama could be hurt if the tax breaks and jobless aid are not extended. Also, the ugliness of the current state in Washington is reminding Americans of Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to make Washington work.
A 10-minute phone conversation between Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner did not go well. Obama had asked Boehner to approve of the compromise two-month extension that Senate Democrats and Republicans had overwhelmingly approved earlier. The House Republicans rejected the compromise and demanded negotiations toward a full-year measure that would keep most workers’ Social Security payroll tax at 4.2 percent, which is down from the current 6.2.
Boehner has reiterated time and time again that House Republicans want a full-year extension. Neither the president nor the Senate has supported this notion due to unrelated provisions added and because it would cut unemployment aid.