4:56 pm CST - December 22, 2011
Posted under Quotes
Congress’ Christmas Showdown: “We are now in a position that requires all options to be on the table.”
To end the politically damaging impasse over a payroll tax holiday, House Republican leaders agreed Thursdayafternoon to accept a temporary extension of the tax cut.
— Congressman Tom Reed of New York, a conferee appointed by House Speaker John Boehner to negotiate a deal.
“House Republicans, sensibly, want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms. We can and should do both. Working Americans have suffered enough from the president’s failed economic policies and shouldn’t face the uncertainty of a New Year’s Day tax hike.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We are now in a position that requires all options to be on the table. That requires Republicans to not only demand a willingness to compromise, but to offer it as well. More often than not an ‘all or nothing’ attitude produces nothing.”
— Cong. Rick Crawford (R-AR) in a Thursday letter to Mr. Boehner, after proclaiming Tuesday he would vote against the extension Senate bill.
The push to find a resolution was touched off Thursday by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, who had … negotiated the two-month extension and called on the House to accept a temporary continuation of the tax hike and extended unemployment pay as long as Senate Democrats committed to opening negotiations quickly over a yearlong agreement.
Under a deal reached between House & Senate leaders — which Speaker John A. Boehner was presenting to the rank and file in an evening conference call — House members would accept the 2-month extension of a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits approved by the Senate last Saturday, while the Senate would appoint members of a House-Senate conference committee to negotiate legislation to extend both benefits through 2012.
The agreement ended a partisan fight that threatened to keep Congress — and President Obama — in town through Christmas and was just the latest of the fierce fights between House conservatives, the president and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
But the change in direction seemed to end in a clear victory for Mr. Obama and the Democrats, at least for now.
House Republicans — who rejected an almost identical deal on Tuesday on the House floor — worried the blockade would do serious damage to the party brand heading into an election year.