Standing Firm for Certainty

Politico: House GOP Freshmen Stand Their Ground

With the legislative session lurching to a close, House Republican freshmen took center stage in the Capitol Monday to play their part in an elaborate year-end kabuki dance over a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday.

The freshmen argued at a news conference and in interviews that a two-month extension approved over the weekend by the Senate, 89-10, was irresponsible because it did not provide economic certainty for middle-class Americans.

But the House GOP is in an increasingly difficult spot, now wanting a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut. On Monday, at least four Republican senators made statements pressuring House Republicans to back the two-month extension in the Senate bill that would allow negotiations to continue in the new year. One, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, called the last-minute brinksmanship “irresponsible.”

Here in South Carolina, I’ve been lucky enough to have the time to attend a few meetings and events and get to know some of the local folks, though I certainly have not had as much time as I’d have liked to attend political events — every day, it seems, a presidential candidate is here in the Lowcountry giving a speech or attending a town hall meeting, but I’m always working or otherwise engaged.

One meeting that stuck out, especially in the context of this debate over the payroll tax extension, was a meeting of a local 9/12 group that featured a panel of small business owners talking about what they’d do to get the economy moving again.  (I wrote about that meeting here, in “How to Keep Small Business Open for Business“)  Nearly all of the panelists described how the fundamental change that was needed was little more than certainty.

A two-month extension, in and of itself, countermands the very notion of certainty.  Heck, it’s darned temporary.  Earlier tonight, I got home in time to catch the end of Special Report, and I heard Charles Krauthammer describe the prospect of a two-month payroll tax holiday extension as follows:

“Two months is not a tax holiday,” Krauthammer said. “A year is a tax holiday — two months is barely a tax long-weekend.”

While an election year is bound to bring a little, well, uncertainty to the ranks of any party, I am nevertheless very proud of House GOP freshman for standing fast.  Principle SHOULD prevail over politics.



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