Adding $100 billion to the deficit for a 10-month payroll tax holiday is a difficult pill to swallow for Republicans who've been hammering President Obama for adding to the deficit, but they're about to do it anyway.The rough outlines of the deal include extending both unemployment benefits (a Democratic priority) and current Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors (a bipartisan priority), which would be offset by budget cuts in a vote expected by the end of the week.
Some Republicans are not going along. “I just can’t. I just can’t,” Republican Congressman Allen West told Politico when asked if he would vote for the deal.“I gotta stand on principle. How can I criticize the president for his budget where he’s increasing the debt and deficit if we’re going to come here and vote to do the same?”
On MSNBC's Morning Joe today, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann slammed the deal for defunding the Social Security Trust Fund. "I don't think it's the right way to go, I think it's a temporary gimmick and let's face it, this payroll fund was established specifically to be a revenue stream to fund Social Security, so let's leave that." GOP Congressman Phil Gingrey pledged to vote against the deal and Republican Senator Ron Johnson dismissed the idea, saying "defunding Social Security is the wrong thing to do."
Still, as Politico's Jake Sherman and Jonathan Allen note, Boehner can afford to lose GOP votes because Senate Democrats and the White House are onboard with the deal. But even for the Republicans who are willing to follow Boehner's marching orders, it's clear resentment exists over the vote.
“I still don’t think the temporary payroll tax cut is going to help our economy. It’s political candy — once you give it out, it’s hard to take it away,” Republican Senator Jim DeMint told The Hill. He added: “I don’t think we have much choice."
Of course, there's a reason Boehner isn't facing a total and complete revolt from House Republicans. Not everyone thinks they got such a bad deal. The Washington Examiner's conservative editorial writer Conn Carroll notes that tax cuts, unfunded or otherwise, are good for the GOP especially considering the Democrats' going in position was to finance the extension by raising taxes on millionaires. Second, the Medicare reimbursement payments were offset by spending cuts in the budget and third, even though extending unemployment compensation was not a GOP priority, it will be offset by spending cuts as well. "The deal Republican negotiators cut with Democrats ... contains a huge, though far from perfect, win for conservatives on the Hill," he writes.