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  • Morning Bell: Senators, Do Your Job and Get to Work

    On the front page of the White House’s website, a clock slowly ticks away, second by second, counting down to the day, hour, minute, and second that the nation’s payroll tax “holiday” expires and the American people get socked right where it counts — in the pocket book. And just next to that clock is a message laying the blame squarely on the House of Representatives. But today the real culprit in this debacle is the U.S. Senate which, right now, is home for the holidays already, celebrating with family while Washington sits in a stalemate.

    In a rare appearance in the White House press room yesterday, President Barack Obama reiterated his message, blaming Washington’s inaction on “a faction of Republicans in the House” and their “refusal to cooperate” with the Senate — as if it’s the job of Members of Congress to go along and get along for the sake of advancing the President’s agenda, regardless of whether it’s the right move for America. As a reminder, this is the same President who has not met with House Republican leadership in five months and is now praising the grand accomplishment of a Senate that has failed to pass a budget for nearly 1,000 days under Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) direction.

    As you might not be surprised to learn, there is, of course, more to the story than the President lets on. Here’s what you need to know about the latest standstill in Washington that, unfortunately, follows much of the same order of business that America has witnessed for the past year.

    In a matter of days, the payroll tax “holiday” will expire, meaning higher taxes for working Americans. At the same time, fees for physicians and hospitals providing Medicare services will be severely cut and additional weeks of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will run out. None of this was unexpected. This was not an unforeseen calamity that caught Washington by surprise. They saw it coming, and it’s been on their list of things to do since last December–yet here we are waiting for a resolution and watching as Republicans and Democrats point fingers at each other.

    Heritage’s Alison Fraser, Director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, describes the state of play on the Hill today:

    To its credit, the House passed a bill which, while not perfect, would at least prevent the looming tax hike for all working Americans, extend additional unemployment benefits and prevent cuts to Medicare providers with another “Doc Fix” for a full year.  Besides these three key policies, the House also included some policies helpful to job creation as well as an important change to fix Medicare’s finances, thus strengthening it for seniors today and tomorrow.  This change is crucial toward tackling the nation’s largest and most pressing fiscal issue — our entitlement crisis.

    Somehow this was too much to do for the Senate.  Unable to get the job done right, they passed a measly two-month extension of these three policies and quickly got out of Dodge, a.k.a. the Nation’s capital.  Somehow, this is supposed to reassure us that [Reid] and the rest of his Senate colleagues are able to do the people’s business.

    The trouble with the Senate’s two-month plan is that it leaves so much undone and with so many people hanging. Working Americans will have no idea whether or not they’ll suffer a tax hike when the extension expires. Employers will take on additional costs and have to jump through more hurdles in having to change their payroll systems to keep up with Washington’s policy du jour — and that will be an even bigger pain in the neck for small businesses who do payroll by hand. In short, it’s terrible policy, and the American people deserve better.

    To make this fruitcake taste even worse, as Fraser explains, the Senate packed in some good old-fashioned class warfare by “limiting the amount of income that qualifies for payroll tax relief so that upper-income earners don’t get more than their ‘fair share’ of the tax relief during this brief two-month period.” And they paid for it all by increasing fees on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Though such fees could have been used to help improve the government-sponsored housing agencies’ horrendous financing, it is of course being used to pay for more spending and to offset the costs of avoiding a tax hike.

    And this is where America finds itself. The House is in one corner. The President is in another. And Senators checked the box and hopped a flight home for the holidays instead of doing the people’s business and reaching a compromise. Though President Obama would like us to believe the onus is on the House, it’s the Senate that has dropped the ball. And for the sake of the American people, they should come back to Washington and get to work on reaching an agreement.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    91 Responses to Morning Bell: Senators, Do Your Job and Get to Work

    1. ann says:

      This must stop or we are going to be just like Europe if we not already are. For them to do a stunt like this in the Senate and LEAVE THey should be voted out of office. ALL OF THEM! We need to start with people who are serious about changing the course of our nation. This current senate MUST GO!

    2. Chuck says:

      Why would we expect Dingy Harry and the rest of the Senators to pass this bill when they have refused to vote on their own budget for 2 years? Term limits and flat tax here we come.

    3. harley spoon says:

      The Senate did its job. 39 Republicans voted for the bill. 90% of the Senators voted for the bill. The obstructionist House leadership did not do its job and never does its job!!

    4. Harley Spoon says:

      Cornyn says Obama, "Has given up on governing." No, Obama is at the helm of the ship of state but the Teapublican oarsmen and oarswomen are drunk with their supposed power to obstruct everything Obama proposes or supports in order to make him a "one term president" as they so often assert!!! Cornyn and his Teapublican cohorts are sadly mistaken regarding the path they are on. In November 2012 the people will open the doors of government and kick them out!!

    5. Daune says:

      And if you aren't depressed enough by all of this – go check out the Washington Post today. They did a quick and dirty poll on whether the 2 month extension bill should be passed, then asked for comments. When I looked 84% felt the bill should be passed, and the comments were almost universally condemning the republicans as being heartless, shills for the 1%, or obstructionists. The amount people claimed to be in danger of losing if the bill didn't pass ranged from $100/month up to $1000/month. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    6. Harley Spoon says:

      I fully expect the site admins will delete my comments because censorship is the way of the right wing pawns and goons of the Koch Brothers and their corporate statist fascist Bubba's…

    7. toledofan says:

      Great article and again you it it out of the park. What is just so sad is that the American people continue to let themsevles get dupped by the Democrats believing that the Republicans are the problem. The process of debunking all this nonsense would be better said coming out of Boehners mouth rather than waiting for Heritage to do the heavy lifting. The Republicans need to start standing on their own feet, taking some punches, and forcing the message so people can unstand. Keep up the good work.

    8. Tim K. says:

      This needs to be published in the liberal press and on the liberal news channels.

    9. john olofson says:

      So what's the status of the pipeline?

    10. Michael A. Gabel says:

      The real problem is that Repulicans went along with this payroll tax "holiday" to begin with. A conservative understands that the real solution is cutting government spending, not pandering for votes by handing out lollipops in the form of a "tax cut". Now, they have pretzeled themselves into debating the merits of a non conservative position.

      The "tax cut" is not a cut at all because it is reducing the amount of Social Security contributions into an already flawed and failing Social Security program. The shortfall must be made up in either increased taxes elsewhere (Obama's plan), reduced government spending (apparently nobody's plan), borrowing (apparently many politicians' favorite plan) or reduced Social Securtity benefits (the inevitable).

      Unfortunately, many Republicans get scared when they see the left handing out lollipops. They think that if they take the lollipop away, they'll never get re-elected. However, the true conservative ought to be able to articulate the real problems and viable solutions to the American people.

    11. Guest says:

      Well spoken!! Will they come back and do their job? NAHHH! The Senate disavows that any buck stops with them except the ones that go in their individual pockets. The rest is just "pass the buck" to somebody else.

    12. Basia says:

      Americans that have their eyes and ears open know that Harry Reid is stalling many good bills in the Senate on purpose at the bidding of Obama. The destructive Obama has nothing positive to run on in 2012 so he must blame the Republican House for everything to deflect from the abomination of a president he has been.
      That's been his entire mojo — to blame others, deride and divide. He is by far the worst president this country has seen in its entire history. America must rid itself of this clueless Chicago do-nothing politician just as fast as possible and then clean house in the Senate as well.

    13. Sheila says:

      Hooray! And all of a sudden, it's the dems who want this payroll tax cut to be extended? Where did that come from, or is it the old adage, say it enough times and get it reported, dutifully, by the media and people will believe that the dems are the party who want to relieve all of us poor working stiffs from those high payroll taxes. Always political posturing and unfortunately some people will believe it and point their collective finger at the republicans as the offending party.

    14. sdfultz says:

      I have read your article and understand the dilemma at hand, but as an American citizen the people on the ground aren't buying it, they blame the Republicans!

    15. Ken Schlaefke says:

      You and I both know that both parties are not being honest with the American people.
      Any reduction in the SS/Medicare withholding has to be made up by the general fund.
      As far as I'm concerned that's O.K. because during the Johnson administration he took the money from the SS fund to oay for the Vietnam war and it was not paid back. This is now the way to do it.
      I also don't want to hear that this will not help the deficit. Why should the taxpayers social security fund bail out the over spending. I'm really sick of both parties political games at our expense.

    16. Wayne Grievo says:

      Let's send them all home for Christmas and tell them to stay home. Then let's get some non polititions who would love to serve their country and send them to Washington. It is literally sickening to put up with these liers. Enough. Back to the American principles of following the Constition. Or better yet, let them start thorughing shoes at each other. DO SOMETHING HONEST for once in your lives. Stop the show and let's get into reality. We hate all of you right now.
      Wayne

    17. NeoConVet says:

      Aside from the Dem Control of the Senate and their consistant failure to even generate an annual budget, the Repbulican Senators should have refuse to leave until the House had approved or forced another conferance. I have to wonder were McConnell is in all this or is he headed for Hawaii. I intend to ask ask him since he is a Senator from my State. This has allowed the loony left to seek advantage in a debate that is at best nuts.

    18. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      As part of the Washington insider group, perhaps when Heritage leadership sits at dinner with our life-long political senators & representatives, you can remind them what their job duties entail. Stop supporting the status quo…get some guts and force these lifers to agree to limited time in Washington…that will spur them to do something before they move on to lobby for some foreign country.

    19. Chuck Holmes, Ph.D. says:

      The Constitution of the United States, Article.I., Section .5. states the following: "Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place that in which the two houses shall be sitting." Did the house consent to adjournment of the Senate?

    20. Bobbie says:

      if democrats want to drag Christmas into it, what kind of people give a gift that lasts two months only to lead to further contentions once the democrats take their gift back? Here it is and there it goes!
      A Christmas gift would be permanent tax cuts! Doesn't cost the government a dime! Just corrective action and discipline and an opportunity for a lot of them to earn an honest living in the private sector!

      what kind of people are so selfish they would dump their work in honor of their holiday, without confirming their work? The actions of democrats are very unethical and corrupt! clearly a daily reminder there is too much government with too much cost, in too much control of what we can do without their expense!

    21. DanJ1 says:

      Let's not forget that Reid has been running interference for Obama who vowed to veto it if it gets to his desk in the House's form. The bill contains something for everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, and should have passed easily with bi-partisan support,.

      Since when is it the Senate's job to sacrafice the people to protect the president?

    22. The Farmer says:

      Why pray tell me are the Republicans so foolish so as to negociate against THEMSELVES EVERY TIME WE GET TO A PLACE WHERE THEY HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND?
      They came up with a bipartisen bill, Harry refused to let the Senate vote on it, that is where we should be right now. That House Bill verses the new Senate Bill. But no the bozels in the House get foolish and develop another Bill worst then their first Bill. The Republicans have a way to remidy their foolish mistake but, it would require some intestinal foritude, they would need to announce that they will stay in session untill the Senate returns to work out the differences between either of their Bills! Right through Christmas and the New Year if neccessary, because the Nation needs to see that all the talk is not just more politics.
      Although the tax releif in all these Bills is a DUMB reaction by a BUNCH of VERY FOOLISH folks!

    23. Isir Abelon says:

      SENATE ARE SO…… DYSFUNCTIONAL. "THEIR WAY OR NO WAY." . Fire them all.

    24. Carol says:

      We need to cut off Un-employment. These people have been out of work long enough, victims of a plot enginered by the White House. Keep people out of work, cut off taxed income and put the US of A deeper in debt. Thus the need to TAX the wealthy NOT! Today the weathy tomorrow the middle class.
      Our Government has become Audry Jr. in "Little Shop of Horrors" There isn't enough money to satisify their insatiable need to spend. Our Government needs intervention not more money.

    25. J. Beattie says:

      Please start pubishing a or tell us where can we get a list of the senators who need to be voted out of office as a direct result of all of these "wrong for America, dishonest actions?"

    26. C. Hyatt says:

      No, don't get to work. Continue to draw your welfare check for doing nothing. The year 2012 will see a whole lot of Congressmen who will no longer be employed. It should take about 2 election cycles to clean up the mess we have in Washington.

    27. @dboyerdr says:

      I suggest the Senate has been lazy and inept, They have not proposed a budget in 4 years and have let Obama spend America into bankruptcy. But at the same time many of them have become millionaires by
      using "insider trading". Many of them have been in office far too long. I ALSO suggest that they all read our
      Constitution so they could keep Obama from trampling it. Oh, I forgot the Senate is controlled by the Democrats.

    28. Garrett Fonda says:

      Today's Wall Street Journal lays the blame for confusion at the feet of the Republicans. It seems that Boehner and McConnell didn't sit down and talk about this and as a result, the Republican message is again in the toilet and Obama looks like the winner. The Republicans need to find someone who can communicate their side of the story to the American people. Unfortunately, everyone doesn't have the opportunity to read the Heritage's Morning Bell.

    29. (1)A two month extension rather than a one year extension is ridiculous. (2) How will this "extension" be paid for? (3) The Senate led by Harry Reid has failed to even pass a budget for 1000 days. Why would we expect them to actually accomplish anything of any significance?

    30. Don Fitzpatrick says:

      This is what happens when decisions are driven by ideology rather than by careful thought about the nation's present needs and future survival.

    31. Steve Lynn says:

      Stop pointing fingers! When you point the finger at another, you have three more pointing right back at ya! RESPONSIBILITY or the ability to respond. Congress, hold yourself personally accountable and make it happen. Stop making excuses, make the tough call and do the RIGHT thing and move forward. We may not necessarily like the choice you make but at least make a command decision. As a retired officer, my commander respected me for making the "tough call". I may have made a mistake or two but she at least respected me for not hesitating "under fire!"

    32. allen says:

      Sen Harry Reid," The Bummer Who Is Stealing America " This is the worst of our Society. worst than OBIE (obama). Because he ordered his minions on to OUR airplanes or some Corp. jet so they could spend the money that they do not deserve , How do the Sixty-Two Thieves, include Sen Snow and that other Elf from her state. when they steal like they are doing by not doing the House Bill? Merry Christmas.

    33. George Kitchens says:

      Great article, as usual.

      Honestly, I don't like the "payroll tax" reference at all. I am getting closer to retirement age and the reduction pushes SSI closer and closer to insolvency. I always thought of this as a contribution towards my retirement. The reduction last year should have been made to the income tax and not SSI. The administration is trying to undercut SSI to basically turn it into retirement welfare. I just don't like the approach that is being used.

      At least the House has taken a real leadership stance on trying to put something in place that will last awhile.

      I also posted a similar comment on the white House wesite referenced in the article.

    34. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The people who believe in the House's actions should look to those RINOs in the Senate that has continued to support the deliberate distortion of the facts that the Dems, let by Reid and Obama, are using for pure political reasons, at the same time totally ignoring the well being the American people. Brown, Lugar, Snowe, Heller, and Collins must be held acccountable for their posistions, turning their backs on the voters that put them in office, by supporting whatever Obama vomits up. These 5 (amoung others) must be defeated in the next elections and replaced by those that actually support what the people expect from their repersentatives.

    35. Jack W Estes says:

      I would like to say: Unbelievable but sadly it has become status quo for the politicians we elected to do a job. Funneling more money to Freddie and Fannie is patently stupid; isn't it clear by now that those institutions are incapbable of performing as intended? Also I am weary of the rhetoric about SS and Medicare and being branded as entitlements as if they were some kind welfare program, the truth is the Govt siphoned off most of those funds as a "loan" and never repaid them. Now Obama has set up a 1/2 trillion in cuts to further tank the program. What seems to get lost in all the politican wrangling is the fact that it is the American people who get the short end of the stick. Let's get it together America; no more hollow promises of hope and change.

    36. Jim Buzzell says:

      When RINOs and Democrats are in charge you can bet nothing will get done right. They are more concerned about their images and self serving purpose than our nation. What they do not yet realize is their days are numbered in alittle over 365 days before many of them will go home for the last time, and never come back to the halls of congress. Make sure you vote in 2012.

    37. glynnda says:

      It's an election year! We wouldn't expect anything less from this pack of hyenas.

    38. Black Helicopters says:

      And the Republicans still practice their sorry public relations strategy. So much ammunition that is being unused. Due in part to a lack of spine or conviction… or both.

    39. Wayne Peterkin says:

      I applaud the Heritage Foundation and Mike Brownfield for their dedication yo the truth. It would be refreshing if this article were trumpeted by the national media, but it will not be. A headline in a small New Jersey newspaper this morning (12/21) read "House GOP rejects the payroll tax cut". There was no mention at all of what the House had previously passed or any blame directed at Senate Democrats. One more blatant example of how the media tells half truths and even lies as they try to shape public opinion to fit their left-wing agenda.

    40. Owen K. says:

      The problem in the Senate is Harry Reid and the Democrats. If this had been a Republican majority, this would have already been a done deal. The Republicans can be blamed for some things, but higher tax rates isn't one of them. Most Republican lawmakers understand that higher taxes destroy growth. Democrats and Liberals do not.

    41. J E Houser says:

      Where does America find itself?

      In the garbage can !

    42. Michael D. Black says:

      More damned "gotch-ya" politics from the Democrats. Pass something they know won't fly and the run away and hide so when it doesn't fly they can come out of their holes and say "see…we told you they (whoever they are) were to blame not us. Solution: a US Marshall to one hundred Senator's front door with an order from the people of the United States to DO THEIR DAMNED JOB. If they refuse fire them like any other employee who fails to perform.

    43. J. Dorigan says:

      It may be put forth as a tax cut to make it palatable to Dems and GOP alike. But it is debt increase impacting a program already identified as a major funding problem (i.e., Social Security). When are we going to cut the deficit? In addition, I paid full taxes for my Social Security. Why is the pay in being lowered for others without the payout also being lowered? This is called having your cake and eating it, too. Stand up and be counted – this isn't a tax cut, it is adding to the deficit.

    44. Dan Calabria says:

      This walkout by the Senate proves that we have to make a huge effort to change the complexion of the Senate in 2012. This includes electing enough responsible senators to make a much needed change in what passes for Senate "leadership."
      The only way I know to accomplish that goal is to support Senator Jim DeMint's "Senate Conservatives Fund" in order to elect responsible Senators who are willing to really stand on prinicple and get the country and the economy back on track.
      In addition, it would also be helpful to have the list of Senator's who walked away from their responsibilites by voting to approve their bad solution to what is really a no-brainer.
      Let's just do it!

    45. Per usual Smearitage goes bonkers. The Great Leaders Obama and Reid offered one year with an itsy bitsy charge ot Smearage pals in Casino Derivative Of America.
      No no do not tax them Their incomes of 4000million 3000 million 2000 million and up is not enough.
      They want all of it
      20% own 85% net wealth-own 93% financial wealth get 60% individual income and need Food Stamps.
      Poor 2% own 50% Financial Wealth and get 25% of income Po folks.

      Call Jesus Christ 1-800.Heaven and ask for advice

    46. Jim Buzzell says:

      When RINOs and Democrats are in charge you can bet nothing will get done right. They are more concerned about their images and self serving purpose than our nation. What they do not yet realize is their days are numbered in a little over 365 days before many of them will go home for the last time, and never come back to the halls of congress. Make sure you vote in 2012.

    47. Dennis Berg says:

      Elections have consequences, and we are reaping the rewards of lackadaisical vetting of congressional candidates over the years. If Congress thinks that 2010 elections were a blood bath, they "aint seen nothin yet" Rinos beware!!!!!!!!

    48. ConstitutionGal51 says:

      The sad part is, the Democrats have already done exactly what they intended to do which is try to set up the Republicans to be the "fall guys/gals" for political purposes and then leave town! Let's see how stupid the American people can be now in falling for it — or better yet, NOT!

    49. Donald Vance says:

      If Senate Republicans had some backbone, they would have stayed in Washington–"in session" in the senate building, putting pressure on Democrats to rejoin them in passing the House version of the extension bill. This would have given the public a chance to see who really is working for them. Our military men and women have been absent from home for the the holidays for years. Many American families have no home for the holidays. What's so special about Congress? donvance@bellsouth.net

    50. vicki says:

      Why oh why can't they play nice. Just pass the damn fair tax and everyone will be happy. If the dems want the rich to pay more – they will with the fair tax because of no loopholes. It will make me happy because I can take home my whole paycheck and pay tax on what I spend. No more big refunds to the entitlement crowd because they will have to pay too. It's fair and it's what we need. OWS will be happy – that's what they want is for the rich to pay more. It's a win win situation and will create thousands of jobs because corporations will flock back to the USA – they are all so stupid it makes me sick. I wish I could go to one of their little meetings – they would get an earfull and more.

    51. Chuck Holmes, Ph.D. says:

      The Constitution of the United States: "Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting." Has anyone in Congress read the document that they have sworn protect and defend? Did the House consent to Senate adjournment?

    52. TomC says:

      The original House bill increased fees on Fannie and Freddie back mortgages. This fee is paid over the life of the loan to fund stated temporary payroll tax relief and unemployment benefits. I don't understand why the Republican controlled House passed a fee or tax and spend component rather than try to do what they pomised, to decrease spending. Revenue increases should be applied to the debt because we all know the use of the word temporary in this context is a deception.

    53. mark says:

      Im so sick and tired of Harry Reid and his Marxist Liberal group of communists from this president on down to the entire Democratic party. America we need to move forward unified as Conservatives and remove this Tyrannical regime we are under once and for all. Its either them or us. No Bipartisan (B.S.) anymore. No compromise with this regime. Its either us or them. Thats the way it is and it needs to be. Those of you outthere know exactly what Im talking about. And for those RHINO's (they know who they are) claiming to be conservative, need to be removed as well. People wake up, the message isnt any more crystal clear that this. We are being manipulated deeply by the state run media into believing that this is the way it should be and will be from now on. You can no longer come home after your 8hr job, park your vehicle in the garage close the doors and think that whatever this extreme radical regime does will not have an impact on your life. We cannot ignore and accept it as business as usual, we are being set up to live in a country with limited speech, wealth, and freedom. Im ready to pull that lever in 2012 how about you.!!

    54. Gerald Miks says:

      Brownfield has done his work well and presents the corrupt Washington scene correctly. It's certainly a shame that articles like this can't be seen and heard on the liberal and biased news outlets that are supposed to be our watchdogs.

    55. Daver says:

      While the point is made–I think the headline needs to read:

      Senate Votes to Defund Social Security

      I'm just stunned that nobody on the right is trying to make hay with Seniors and standing against this particular tax reduction. Weren't we just talking about the fact that Social would be insolvent in a few years–how does reducing the funding do anything to improve that situation?

      The reality is that this is the single best way for Obama to continue to reduce taxes on people who already pay no Federal taxes. I don't think this is the discussion we need to be having.

      We need to be trying to figure out how to balance a budget that currently includes 40% red ink. And the reality is that 50% of the US population has no vested interest in seeing the budget balanced and instead of trying to figure out how to broaden the tax base–we are busy looking at how to shrink it.

      People without a vested interest in a financial matter shouldn't have a voice at the table, in no vote– the parrallel would be, unless you let your children decide what vehicle you should drive?

    56. Ron W. Smith says:

      There's no arguing with much of what you say, Mike Brownfield. Pinning the tail on the Donkey, though, isn't very helpful. The fact is, evidence keeps mounting for a lone solution to the sophomoric nonsense that passes for leadership in Washington, D.C.–a viable third party. The political game of ping pong Democrats and Republicans are playing, using the American people as the ball, has to stop.
      Of course, and you know this is well as I do, viability of a third party is impeded by all the hurdles the two parties in power have placed in such a party's way, not the least of them the financial one. Politics today is about the politicians and it's about the big money handed them by those who have it and benefit most from the politicians' cooperation. It's a money-corrupted system.
      For now, compromise is the only way forward–both parties agreeing to disagree and getting on with important business for the sake of us all. Keeping what Ronald Reagan used to call "Christmas Tree Legislation," decked out with riders that don't belong (think pipeline of late), from reaching the floor would be a start. Just one issue/matter at a time, until the children learn to behave with one another, would be a good start. Then, corraling the obstructive members of both houses would be a second step–exposing them for the naive, inexperienced AND unwise crew they are instead of elevating their ignorance to influential status. (We ALL know better could happen, but signing no-tax pledges, for instance, or pushing balanced budget amendments should be grounds for such exposure. What poet used the statement, not about politics, "That's stupid stuff"?)
      Happy Holidays, Mike Brownstein and everyone else. And I offer that without provocative riders to one and all.

    57. Gilbert Doan says:

      Sooner or later, yes.
      It would be awfully nice, don't you know?

    58. E_In_Houston_TX says:

      What are you talking about, Mike Brownfield?
      The Senate has, and in a rare bipartisan fashion, something the country needs more of. Nearly 90 percent of Senators voted for what John Boehner had asked McConell and Reid to vote for. The ball is now squarely in Boehner's court, and you know it!

    59. dorothy curley says:

      Why is it that the Senate can table the House bill, not even bring it up for discussion, and then send over its bill to the House as though the House is obliged to just sign it. Don't be fooled, Harry Reid just tables things and the House bill (many on file) don't even get read by the Senators. The people aren't so dumb that they can't see the irony here. And why did the Senators retire for the holiday before their work was done? Pure politics. To the House, send the bill back in tact changing the expiration date as Charles Krautheimer suggested. Let's see what the Senate would do with that?

    60. D Wilson says:

      I just sit in disgust with the whole lot of them as they sit up there DO NOTHING!! And then they look at us and say… MERRY CHRISTMAS!! We've screwed you again!

    61. GRACE E. PRATTI says:

      THESE POLITICIANS WANT A PAY CHECK BUT DON'T WANT TO DO THE JOB, ELECTIONS IS COMING 2012, SEE WHO STAYS, SEE WHO LEAVES IN THE SENATE AND CONGRESS. THE PEOPLE VOTED THEM IN, THE PEOPLE WILL VOTE THEM OUT. WAKE UP BEFORE ITS TO LATE. A COUNTRY IS GOOD AS YOUR LEADERS. WASHINGTON IS A JOKE AND IS IT FAIR FOR ALL OF THE WORLD TO LOOK AT AMERICA AND ITS LEADERS AS FAILURES, SO HOW ABOUT IT WASHINGTON.

    62. RogerConklin says:

      Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought it was the President who was pushing for legislation which would extend the payroll tax cut for a full year – precisely what the House legislation would have done. I am confused as to why he now would be happy with the Senate's version which would prolong this extension for only 2 months.

    63. John Clancy says:

      The Republicans need to get to the American people on how the Senate has set aside their responsibility to serve the American people. The senators are playing cat and mouse with issues that are extremely serious. The people are fed up. The Senate obstructs again and again. The House needs to make a full court press–now. The democrats who control the Senate are counting on lying to the people in order to have their way. The situation is serious, very serious. The Republican leadership must go to the people in whatever way they can. The more the democrats lie, the more they use this as a mode of operating.

    64. evermyrtle says:

      They are home celebrating? What are they celebrating? Christmas is a not a holiday, and New Year's is over a week away. They can't have it both ways. Is Christmas a holiday or is it not a holiday??

    65. Paul says:

      Given all the mistrust in some of our government officials, and their access to non-public information, many people I know have huge doubts about any real fixing being done. A lot of what's being proposed, seems to have a net effect of almost nothing, while having a "see were doing something" result to it.
      The situation is starting to look like almost a treasonistic state of affairs with some putting their own personal gains ahead of the people's. Why doesn't every single senator and congressman want to sign HR1148?
      Why do they have their own retirement plan and can vote themselves raises, while minimum wage doesn't increase as fast as their paychecks.
      Did they all forget their not CEOs but5 work for the people of the United States?

    66. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The Senate should, SHOULD, get its rear in gear and get back to work.

    67. George Rea, Jr says:

      Who are the 10 Senators voting against the "patch"?

    68. Mike Marsh says:

      I thought that you people were Conservatives! Since when did you cross over to the dark side and consider de-funding social security a good idea? When social security was started, it was touted as an insurance program, not a welfare give-a-way. Obviously, if this is a "tax holiday", then the money for social security is indeed a tax and not an insurance program! Also, why would conservatives think it is a good idea to extend this "tax holiday" for even longer than the Democrats' 2 months? In addition, the welfare program of endlessly extending so-called unemployment benefits is a joke! Where is the money to pay for that to come from? I obviously am re-thinking my support for an organization that is espousing such "liberal" ideas.

    69. Mike Marsh says:

      I thought that you people were Conservatives! Since when did you cross over to the dark side and consider de-funding social security a good idea? When social security was started what is the big idea? You truncated my comment and gutted its meaning! Is this how you accept criticism?

    70. Wayne, La says:

      I do not understand the process. It seems that Congress could pass the Senate's version of the bill with amendments attached. This would force a compromise.

    71. Candy says:

      The Senate dropped the ball the first year they didn't pass a budget. Now it's just a series of stop gap measures rather than doing their job and passing a decent, balanced budget!

    72. When are the people of this country going to learn to follow the bouncing ball to the end of the song? When are they going to follow the money that they pay in taxes all the way to Washington and find out how it is used and where it goes from there? The payroll tax reduction is simply taking money out of your paycheck and your employer's contribution to your retirement benefits in the Social Security Trust Fund. You get to keep some of that money now but it won't be there later when you retire because it will not have been deposited in the Social Security Trust Fund. That doesn't matter anyway because the government has already borrowed the 2.5 trillion dollars that is supposed to be in the trust fund for your retirement and substituted it with IOUs/government securities. On top of that the government is so far in debt they could not pay back the IOUs to the trust fund if they had to. The "can" everybody has been talking about being kicked down the road for future survival has been empty for a long time.

    73. Bill says:

      Why are the Republicans for this so-called tax break? This really isn't a tax its social security and medicare payments which is like an insurance. This only hurts the SS recipient's in the future. And why are both parties putting hurting the middle class spin on this? This is the only fed revenue generator that all workers pay into, unlike the income tax where only 53% end up paying. You at the Hermitage foundation should see through this. SS is going broke and this is only helping it go broke faster..

    74. Pete Miller says:

      Missed Christmas 1990 (off the coast of Panama), 1991 (Desert Storm, Red Sea) and 1992 (6 month deployment to the Med) with my family while serving my country in the U.S. Navy. At least these lightweights should miss a few days to finish their job…inexcusable!

    75. Jeff, Illinois says:

      What is distorted article!!! I like how the GOP poison pills in their original bill are just glossed over, to make it seem that their offering was fair and balanced! Hah!! Common sense suggests that given the constant impasse between the democrats and the republicans, when the Senate passed their bill with almost 90 % of the GOP senators and all the democratic senators . . that should be enough. But no .. .. . ooo, the House once again speaking as if their bill was bi-partisan decided to throw a wrench into the works. Note: I don't think you should be able to claim that a bill has bi-partisan support if the minority party yields less than 10 yea's.

    76. Pops says:

      THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
      ARTICLE. I.
      Section 5 (last paragraph)
      Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

    77. whannan says:

      The congress we have is a farce – the president is also a joke – surely there is someway to elect competent legislatures for a reasonable term of office such as 12-years, and elect a president with some executive talent and experience. And there must be a way to get Bill Ayers and his beliefs out of our government.

    78. June says:

      Just a slight "correction" to this article – -there has been NO "leadership", from prince harry in the senate – -his "job performance" can be clearly described as "obstructionism"!

    79. Robert says:

      The large amount of support by Senate Repubs for their absurd and insulting two-month bill further underscores the need to replace so many of them with Conservatives before our country can achieve any progress on spending control.

    80. madog2 says:

      Anything the US senate does or dosen't do is because the idiots in Nevada voted to keep reid in office knowing that he has been blocking any thing that would help the American people.And everything to further ocommie's agenda

    81. R.H.V. says:

      Stop putting a long list of BILLS to be passed with a single signiture, The president isn't doing anything anyway and should have plenty of time to sign them one at a time. All the house and senators that are in support of a bill will be listed and this bill and their names Will be avalable to the people!!! That way we the people will know the true colors of the president!!!!
      Then we will know woh is to blame, thank about it one BILL one Signiture.!!

    82. Carlos says:

      How is it that this fiasco is referred to as a "payroll tax holiday"?
      Shouldn't it be referred to as "seniors social security pay cut"?

    83. Donald R says:

      The old addage about being carfull what you ask for comes to mind. With the House and Senate out of Washinton we at the bare minum free of any new laws, restrictions, rules and regulations that these highly educated and self rewarding professionals can legistrate to their benifit and the American peoples detriment.

    84. BOB FLINT says:

      LET THOSE SENATORS STAY HOME BY THROWING THEM ALL OUT!

    85. horselvr1 says:

      I'm working this week and next, as are most of us who pay taxes, why aren't these Senators?

    86. PADDY O says:

      DEMOCRATS SOLUTION TO THE SHORTAGE IN THE SOCIAL SECURITYFUNDS.

      REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF FUNDING!
      DOES THE AMERICAN PUBLIC UNDERSTAND THAT PAYROLL TAXES ARE WHAT FUNDS THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM>

    87. Msbrewmstr says:

      The President asked for a 1 year extension, which he got from the House. Now he is willing to accept the 2 month deal which will drag out the discussion on these issues for a longer time. It seems the President doesn't know what he wants or this was just a setup. We keep rehashing the same couple of issues every couple of month and nothing is getting done. AND WILL THEY EVER PASS A BUDGET?

      When the Senate passed the 2 month deal, didn't they know the House had to vote on the change?
      Of course they knew, but they left Washington knowing the job wasn't finished. How many of you get to go home leaving a job half done when you have a deadline? If the people can't see what the President and the Senate are doing there is no hope for this country.

    88. Northwoods says:

      "Senators, Do Your Job and Get to Work" Sums up what is wrong with conservatives today. The Transportation Dept. used to run public safety ads that ended with "don't be right, dead right." There are two realities in Washington: "principles" and "politics." The folks we sent to Washington in the last cycle get the principle part very well, and God Bless them for that. What they missed completely was the politics part. The Dems don't define their jobs they way principled Americans do. They only care about getting re-elected by any means necessary. They manuvered principled but naive Republicans into a trap and conservatives fell for it. The result may well be Obama's re-election along with a Dem. Congress.

      There should be two books all newly elected Republicans read: Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." Had they done so in the last cycle, we might have been the ones in the leveraged position right now.

    89. ckirkland says:

      How sad that those of us who have already served to preserve the freedom of this country are now seeing it destroyed in 3 LONG years with this Obama administration. I feel like crying..

    90. Aeryn Zimmerman says:

      WE SHOULD NOT PAY SO MUCH TAXES!!!!!!!

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