Every House Republican voted against a Senate bill that would have extended the payroll tax cut another two months. The bill failed, 229-193. Unless the House acts in the next week, 160 million working Americans will be paying an extra $40 a week to the government, as the payroll tax rise from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent. In addition, 2.2 million will lose their unemployment benefits.
Despite the Republican caucus’s unanimity, the Obama Administration singled out two congressmen for blame: Rep. Allen West of Florida, and Illinois’s own Joe Walsh.
White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer blamed West, Walsh and other Tea Partiers for undermining an agreement House Speaker John Boehner had struck with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The payroll tax cut extension passed the Senate, 89-10.
“You don't get 89 votes for something like this without there being a complete understanding [that] the House Republican leadership was on board,” Pfeiffer told MSNBC. “Speaker Boehner got on the phone with his caucus, tried to sell it, we had a Tea Party revolt.”
In an interview with the conservative website Newsmax, Walsh said he voted against the bill because a two-month extension is “not workable” for businesses. House Republicans want a year-long extension.
“Outside groups, business groups will tell you that what the Senate passed over the weekend is beyond silly,” Walsh said. “It’s just not workable. They can’t process the paperwork necessary to put a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut even into play.”
Walsh also called Obama “out of touch” for blaming the bill’s defeat on a pair of GOP backbenchers.
“The president of the United States is singling out one or two freshman Republicans?” Walsh said. “I think I’m a pretty good congressman and a pretty good guy, but that’s how low he’s sunk? If this president thinks he can score political points by attacking a Tea Party congressman like me, he’s really out of touch.”
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