House Speaker John Beohner's plan to extend the payroll tax cut without paying for it has inflamed some rank-and-file Republicans, and Senate Democrats are adding fuel to the fire. The Monday calculation by Boehner along with Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Majority Leader Eric Cantor was to capitulate to Democrats on the payroll tax extension and fight them over the extension of jobless benefits in a separate legislative showdown. But Senate Democrats have another plan in mind that would lump the provisions together despite protestations from the House.
Following Monday's announcement to extend the payroll tax cut for 10-months and add $100 billion to the deficit, Senate Democrats made Talking Point Memo's Brian Beutler privy to a parliamentary trick to trap the GOP into even more of a capitulation than House GOP leaders intended. Since Democrats are determined to extend unemployment insurance (UI), a payroll tax and a patch to Medicare's physician reimbursements, they will simply add those provisions in an amendment to the House's stand-alone payroll tax cut bill.
That wasn't what Republicans had in mind, as The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer explained immediately following Boehner's announcement. "By separating the payroll tax from jobless benefits, Republicans have somewhat boxed in Democrats, forcing them to decide whether to accept a stand-alone tax cut that touches nearly all working Americans — and is generally more popular than the additional unemployment insurance — or hold out for a package that covers all three programs, at a cost of about $160 billion."