Despite their stated opposition to tax increases, Republican lawmakers have been largely cool or even hostile to a proposed extension of the temporary payroll tax cut, pushed by President Obama and Democrats. Finally, this week, Republicans seemed to relent as GOP congressional leaders publicly urged their caucuses to vote for an extension of the plan. “The fact is that Republicans are doing everything we can to allow American families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn,” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said this morning of efforts to whip GOP lawmakers to support an extension.
But in private, Boehner seems to hold a different view. Politico reports that in a closed-door GOP meeting this morning, Boehner referred to an extension of the payroll tax holiday as “chicken-shit,” saying he wanted to tack on unrelated legislation favored by Republicans to make it palatable:
GOP leadership told its membership at a closed-door meeting Friday morning it would couple with the expiring tax provisions an easing of environmental regulations on boilers, selling broadband spectrum and paving the way for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. [...]
Speaker John Boehner referred to the package he’s putting forward as turning “chicken-sh — into chicken salad,” according to people attending the meeting in the Capitol basement Friday morning.
Translated, he’s going to pass President Barack Obama’s preferred tax cut, but he wants some skin from Democrats for it.
So which is it? Does Boehner actually believe in extending the payroll tax holiday for the middle class, or is that “chicken-shit”? An extension of the payroll tax holiday would help 95 percent of working families, but would disproportionately benefit working and middle-class people, as there’s a cap that prevents wealthy people from being taxed on anything they make over about $100,000.
Last night, Republicans in the Senate killed a Democratic bill that would have extended the middle-class tax holiday while raising taxes slightly on just the wealthiest 0.4 percent of Americans.