Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

Currently: 59° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Sun Editorial:

Americans face higher taxes because of Republican obstruction

As if Americans haven’t seen enough dysfunction in Washington, House Republicans engineered a masterpiece Tuesday to round out the year. They rejected a bipartisan Senate plan that would have extended payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits for two months, giving lawmakers time to work out a longer-term deal.

House Republicans’ refusal was purportedly because they didn’t want to “kick the can down the road” and instead wanted a year-long deal. The reality is that they are using the measure to try to gain political leverage. They have tied the extension of cuts and benefits to several major policy issues that have met with strong opposition.

Republicans see it as a game — as Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., said, “It’s high-stakes poker.” And they apparently think they can force the Democrats’ hand, as they have in the past. Consider the stakes: If the cuts and benefits aren’t extended by Jan. 1, 160 million workers will see their payroll taxes go up — likely between $700 and $2,300 a year — and 2.5 million unemployed Americans will see their benefits run out.

It’s shameful to see this as a political game. We can’t understand what Republicans in the House, including Nevadans Mark Amodei and Joe Heck, are thinking. Certainly, it would be better to have a year-long deal, but the failure of this plan would be terrible for average Americans. The Senate understood that — it passed on an 89-10 vote with 39 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voting in favor of it.

Americans are tired of the gridlock and problems in Washington, and the House Republicans have been baffling. They say they want to spur the economy and create jobs, but how does blocking a two-month extension of cuts and benefits help anyone? Heaven forbid that Americans have more money to spend. That might actually spur the economy, and that would be ... bad?

The Republican leadership in the House refuses to take responsibility for its actions and instead is blaming everyone else — President Barack Obama, Democrats, the Senate. However, the Republican obstruction and demands for ideological purity have done nothing to create jobs, help the economy or improve consumer confidence. Instead, they have only frustrated the nation’s economic rebound because no one is sure what to expect out of the House but gridlock and brinkmanship.

These types of games rarely end well. Don’t House Republicans remember how well that type of brinkmanship worked for Newt Gingrich when he was speaker of the House and forced a government shutdown in December 1995?

Or even how the nation’s credit rating dimmed and their own polls dropped after they pushed their own brand of brinkmanship earlier this year?

Apparently those lessons were lost on them.

This could easily be solved. Congress could hold an up-or-down vote on extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits — without any of the other demands Republicans have made. That would be fitting with the “Pledge to America,” in which House Republicans promised not to package “unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation” and said they would “advance major legislation one issue at a time.”

Unfortunately, the only issues we see Republicans advancing are their own political goals, which they’ve put ahead of the needs of most Americans.

So much for their pledge.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 24 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Re Future: The 2 month extension was designed to get us through the end of the year and the holiday season. It is not the end of the measure. The bill was approved by a 90% majority in the senate and then sent back to the house where it was killed by Boehner and his herd of cats (Tea Party obstructionists). The senate has left D.C. for the holidays, and Harry Reid has said they are not returning. I approve of the Majority Leader's stance. More brinksmanship by the House Republicans will not solve anything. The Senate version should be passed by the house NOW! There is a whole year ahead for the Republicans to posture and obstruct legislation, which is all they have done since retaking the house in 2010. To Amodei and Heck: vote to pass the Senate version of the bill NOW! You both are not serving the citizens who elected you by obstructing legislation that will help workers throughout the country and the unemployed. Medicare payments to doctors is among the other important issues covered in the bill passed by the Senate in a true BI-PARTISAN VOTE. Stop the Kabuki theater, and do something for your constituents.

  2. Re Future: The two month extension was a sop to the GOP in order to get the bill PASSED IN BI-PARTISAN FASHION WHICH IT DID! It will be extended for a longer period after the break if the two sides of the Senate can reach agreement. The two month extension also keeps the heat on the President regarding the Keystone pipeline, a popular republican issue. So what is your argument?

  3. This Republican action only spotlights the dysfunctionality of the 2-party system and electoral college in American politics. Neither system serves the citizens any longer and must be abolished. The behavior of both parties is hurting the citizens they are suppose to serve.

    Time to VOTE them all out next election. Time to change the cozy laws on political campaign contributions and support. Time to elect people who will get things done for and by the People of the United States of America, and NOT lobbyists and special interests. Time to end the political gridlock and holding America hostage for political gain.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  4. This payroll tax cut extension issue certainly magnifies the total inability of American federal politicians to function. The philosophies of each party are distressingly far apart, and strategy for the Presidential election dominates, even though still almost a whole year down the road.
    Oddly, from a foreigner's perspective, neither party appears willing to actually address the gross government overspending problem in a sane way. The Republicans, influenced by the Tea Party element therein, propose a scary decimation of government. Although that would certainly slash government spending, it would also likely throw the bottom third of Americans to the wolves.
    The Democrats give the illusion of caring more about ordinary Americans, but fail to face the fact that maintaining the status quo will bankrupt America.
    I shudder to anticipate what will happen next November. Likely neither party will achieve full control of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Will that mean four more years of partisan bickering with zero accomplishment?
    That leads to an odd speculation. Would that dysfunctional result actually be better than full governmental control by either party?

    Don Desaulniers

  5. A few facts to inject into the discussion.

    1. Republican hypocrites wanted a two month tax holiday in 2009. The Republican were for a two month holiday before they were against it. Louie Gohmert from Texas introduced it into the House, and 50-odd House Republicans signed on to it, and was reportedly supported by both Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich. Here's Gohmert's press release promoting the idea:
    http://gohmert.house.gov/News/DocumentPr...

    2. Republicans are steadily losing the message war on this, as they continue to get pummeled from members of their own party. Republican Senators up for election this round like Scott Brown and Nevada's own Dean Heller have criticized the House for not passing the bill.

    3. What happens when you install a sniveling wimp into a leadership position? John Boehner's comic inability to get the tea party evangelicals in the House to do anything will be his downfall. His cowardly failure to bring the Senate bill up to a vote in the House, for fear his own party would revolt against him, is the epitome of gutlessness.

    4. John Boehner's fickle and weak leadership has resulted in the most unpopular Congress in polling history. If Congress remains mired in an inability to compromise, largely the fault of the Eric Cantor and his tiny kingdom of tea party extremists, it will only reinforce the opinion that far-right obstructionists have taken this country hostage.

  6. Belleville,

    Your statement "This payroll tax cut extension issue certainly magnifies the total inability of American federal politicians to function" IS truly all that needs be said.

    Mr. Sun, like we have been telling you ad nauseum, quit wasting our time with minutia and let's discuss how to fix what Belleville, me, et al. innately understand. Please get to the point Mr. Sun.

    Purgatory

  7. The hypocrisy of the Republican party has no limits everybody knows damn well if this was a tax cut for the top 2% it would have been approved by the Republicans regardless if it was paid for.

    VOTE REPUBLICAN IF YOU WANT MORE TAXES, MORE LIES, MORE WARS, AND MORE RECESSIONS.

  8. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  9. I think the stakes are kind of low, working people will have to pay what the have been paying for years in ss payroll, the 2% cut was there own money that should have been going to their retirement and likely means the cut would turn into a hike in time to make up deficits, the tax should be reinstated at the full rate now. People on UE for more than a year really need to take a look at their life and find work no matter where it is or how inconvenient, time to man up,get to work. I do think those who have only collected 26 weeks should get another 26. As for doctors getting more money yea, I am really upset about that.. not. So the UE is the only real issue here and something tells me that will be solved if the rest is not. I am not sure what Boehner is trying to do, my guess is force the pipeline deal and the stakes seem to be low compared to the pipeline deal if he can get it done.

  10. No, Mr. Sun, Americans do NOT face higher taxes because of Republican obstruction. They just will have to pay in the regular amount of FICA taxes. You want to yell and scream about something Mr. Sun, how about the 10% increase in electricity rates that Las Vegas residential customers will have to pay -- despite the fact that the cost of generating electricity is going down -- and will likely continue to go down because of the increasing abundance of natural gas as a generating fuel?

  11. No question at all to who the Republican party represents.WALL STREET. those Republicans fought tooth and nail preventing the bush tax cuts for the wealthy expiring. But they sure as hell have no problem with raising taxes on 160 million working class Americans. For every American who will have to pay higher taxes because of the REPUBLICAN establishment remember next fall how they threw you under the bus in there kowtowing to there masters on wall street.

    VOTE REPUBLICAN IF YOU LIKE MORE WARS, MORE LIES, MORE TAXES AND MORE RECESSIONS.

    VOTE DEMOCRAT IF YOU WANT TO RESTORE SANITY. RESTORE AMERICA AS A GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE.

  12. Sun editorial staff--- "Apparently those lessons were lost on them." would seem to apply to those who continue to support the Republican Party's reckless policies.

  13. At least you corrected the spelling.

  14. Sad, the Republicans AND the Democrats playing games with the budget and Social Security. Both parties are culpable. I am a Democrat and find it amazing that there are Americans who do not understand that we are courting disaster IE no budget, obsessively spending money we do not have, and an Alfred E Neumann attitude toward impending financial disaster. What happens in the future when NO ONE IS WILLING TO FLOAT OUR BONDS? Short term thinking in a long term world may equate to suicide as a nation one day. But then What, ME? worry?

  15. I believe no one is doing the business of the people. EITHER PARTY.

  16. By the way, kudos to LV Sun Editorial Staff people.

    A portion of this editorial was used in national media.

    There's an article in Talking Points Memo about Republican Party obstruction and the music our elected leaders face when they return to their districts.

    A few paragraphs were used in their article this morning (December 22, 2011).

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/...

    Good job, LV Sun....

  17. OK, I guess I will be hit for this but most ALL Partisan yammering is a waste of the people's time. It is mostly he said she said MOSTLY without actual substance except ideologue opinion. The PEOPLE need to take our politicians to task for their political/ideologue based obstruction. The politicians need to FIRST assure a proper fiscally sound budget, A proper national defense, Proper federal justice (staying out of state issues) and equality and encouraging a useful safety net for citizens. Some non issues that take up and waste valuable time: extreme views on abortion (only ideologues REALLY care one way or the other), the war on Christmas, race baiting beyond legal equality, the drug war (which is actually a nice way to introduce fascism and criminalizes behavior by citizens into our country without degrading drug use AT ALL. Should you wish to discuss things you feel are important go ahead but do not delude yourself that you are making a difference with the politicians who are responding to their major donors and NOT the voices of the people in their party. National politicians pay lip service to you at election time to fake you into voting for them and that is about it.

  18. Altho I strongly disapprove of the Senate's having passed only a two-month extension, it has done so. Under the circumstances, the House would have been better-advised to "hold its nose", approve the Senate version, and re-address the issues next year.

    The consequences of "no action" would be highly disruptive. IMO, the House was faced with a situation comparable to being on a two-lane road, with an oncoming vehicle approaching in your lane. If there's room to pull over, you are much better-advised to do so . .

  19. Frank you have unwittingly made my point; when you and your extreme Republican opponents agree how many angels will fit on the head of a pin get back to me.

  20. It looks like the House has caved, but Obama has to eat some crow, too. His XL Pipeline football is being taken away and he is being forced to make a decision now instead of punting it to 2013 after the election. Obama's strategy before this was to try to keep the environmentalists in line for November knowing that no matter how he screwed them the unions would still be there for him. Now he has to make that decision before the election.

    The Sun ran an AP wire story a couple of days ago that has a very good summary of what the Senate and House bills had in them: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/dec...

    The Senate version is not perfect, but I think it is far more reasonable overall than the House version. Why they couldn't have made that a full year instead of only 2 months is beyond me.

  21. I have no idea how the R's go home to their districts and see people in food lines at churches and think ending people's lifelines is just A-Ok and in the holiday spirit.

    Shame.

  22. Reality check for the tea party members the Republican establishment is in charge not you. Now that the tea party is having a negative impact on the election prospects for the Republican party next fall expect your funding to dry up.

  23. I agree with the previous comments from mike_kerns and LastThroes.

    The extremist Tea/Republican Party has FINALLY been confronted and told emphatically no.

    I am so glad to see they are losing the message they want pounded out there all the time. However, I say they never had it to begin with. It was just people were slow to react to the radical ideology they wanted thrown out there.

    People are now awake and fighting back against the stupidity. This Tea Party thing is a fad. Mainly because it don't have anything in common with normal everyday working middle class people. This stupid Ayn Rand vision of America is unattainable crap, and a total waste of time.

    There is going to be retaliation though. I predict the Tea Party radicals will start foaming at the mouth in anger very, very soon. And the next attack by the Republican Party they have infected against the middle class will be worse.

    Already, there are signs they are howling mad because of this payroll tax cut debacle. It looks like the propaganda machine hasn't been quietened momentarily nor silenced in the slightest; more like the amplifiers have been turned up even louder a few notches.

    But I'm glad the Democrats stood firm and stood up to their nonsense.

    I predict this is the sign of more victories for the working class people of America to come.

    It's about time the people who have the least say in Government have a say and make a visible impact on policies.

    Perhaps we are seeing the first sign of the middle class standing up and shoving back at the idiocy that is the current Tea/Republican Party. They are now being revealed to be the total farce they have morphed into since the Bush years.

  24. I think this sums it up pretty well:

    However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796