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Payroll tax cut extension a mess in the making


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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s private assessment of the payroll tax debate is pretty bleak.

Late Monday afternoon in Speaker John Boehner’s office, the Michigan Republican told House GOP leadership that the negotiations to extend the tax holiday seem like a replay of the disastrous deficit supercommittee, according to several sources present.

Democrats are dragging out negotiations because they think it helps them politically, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t let Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) cut a deal, Camp told GOP leaders, according to the sources. No one besides Baucus, Camp said, is willing to make the decisions necessary to move forward — two assessments not shared by Democrats.

The tax holiday expires at the end of this month.

It should be no surprise to anyone that in the heat of an important negotiation with a massive impact on the American public, Senate Democrats and House Republicans are at a logjam with negotiations seemingly going nowhere.

It’s unclear if the two sides even know what each other is thinking.

As recently as last week, a top Boehner aide warned that Republicans should be prepared for Democrats to push another two-month extension — and Republicans should come up with a plan to combat that. But Senate Democrats flatly deny they’re even thinking about such a plan and said they are solely focused on a yearlong extension of the 2 percent payroll tax cut.

After the meeting with Camp, Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent out a statement saying the Senate should focus on House-passed spending cuts because progress has not been made.

It’s all just business as usual in the dysfunctional Capitol, where neither chamber and neither party appear able to have the minimum level of communication over strategy as a tax increase looms for 160 million Americans.



Which is the way they want it...

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