Both NBC and ABC had, on December 19 and 20, 2011, pieces that disparaged House Republicans for potentially “messing up” an extension of the payroll tax cut. On NBC’s Today, Kelly O’Donnel said, “Holiday cheer gone sour” when describing extending the payroll tax cut set to expire at year’s end.
O’Donnel also said, “Unless Congress acts, on January 1st  working Americans would pay higher taxes and jobless benefits would run dry for many long-term unemployed. House Republicans who met late Monday blasted the Senate solution, a two-month extension.” She played a clip of John Boehner (R-OH) saying, “Our members do not want to just punt and do a two-month short-term fix where we have to come back and do this again.”
Further comments aired in the same segment:
- Unidentified Man: “It’s Grinch time in Washington, Mr. Speaker.”
- Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH): “Another phony crisis courtesy of the extremist bah humbug House Republicans.”
- Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “It’s just the radical tea party Republicans who are holding up this tax cut for the American people and jeopardizing our economic growth.”
- Jay Carney (White House Press Secretary): “I think Americans who are paying attention to this must be pulling their hair out when they look at the House now refusing to do what the Senate did.”
O’Donnel said that in-fighting exposed a rift between Republicans in the House and Senate. She then played a clip with Eric Cantor (R-VA) saying: “We outright reject the attempt by the Senate to kick the can down the road for 60 days.”
On ABC World News, correspondent Jim Avila spun the fight as one between unpopular Republicans and a resurgent Barack Obama. Avila said that the country’s anger is “reflected in today’s ABC News/Washington Post poll, showing a job approval rating of just 20 percent for Republicans in Congress who have blocked the payroll tax cut while President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 49 percent.”
On the CBS Early Show, corespondent Nancy Cordes said, “House Republicans say that just creates too much uncertainty for the taxpayer, not knowing whether this payroll tax cut is going to expire after two months or not. And so, they want a one-year deal.”
While both networks focused their attention on an unruly House, neither said anything about the point made by ABC’s Jake Tapper on his Political Punch blog: Officials from the policy-neutral National Payroll Reporting Consortium, Inc. have expressed concern to members of Congress that the two-month payroll tax holiday passed by the Senate and supported by President Obama cannot be implemented properly.
But, as Rich Mitchell says, “The phrase ‘couldn’t find their butts with both hands tied behind their backs’ comes to mind as I analyze the feat of stupidity undertaken by the leaders of the House and Senate in the Social Security revenue cut proposal (a.k.a. payroll tax holiday).” He continues, “The Senate bill offers a two month, 2% tax holiday on payroll social security taxes. The House bill offers the same holiday but over a year’s time. The Democrats have to swallow a provision that puts the Keystone XL pipeline on the front burner.”
He concludes, “A better play for the Republicans would have been to agree to the two month extension no strings attached. Then in February when we’re still talking about it, mention that the GOP gave something in December, the DNC gave nothing – just as they have for the last 3 years. The democrats are all take and no give – no compromise.”
Right now the MSM is doing its best to spin this as an Obama and Democrat victory. Perhaps Speaker Boehner should consult Rich Mitchell before making any other moves.
But that’s just my opinion.