After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and House Speaker John Boehner reached an agreement Thursday nightr that calls for the payroll tax deduction to be extended for two months, President Barack Obama congratulated lawmakers for ending the partisan stalemate.
Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut - about $1,000 for the average family.... Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay, Obama said, The Washington Post reported Thursday night. This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people's lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.
Also after the agreement, Speaker Boehner discussed the deal with rank-and-file GOP on a conference call -- the same Tea Party faction-dominated caucus that had rejected the two-month extension only days earlier, The New York Times reported Thursday night.
From the tone of Boehner's voice, the sense was one that he was reasonably confident the House GOP caucus will agree to the deal on unanimous consent.
It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world,'' Boehner said, The Times reported. But let me tell you what: I think our members waged a good fight.''
Political/Public Policy Analysis: The late word Thursday night of a deal regarding a payrolll tax reduction extension is qualified good news for the 160 million Americans who are subject to the tax.
Qualified good news because -- you guessed it -- the deal still has to be approved by the Republican-led House. True, all Boehner has to do is get a unanimous consent vote on Friday, but keep in mind we're dealing with the Tea Party-dominated House GOP caucus -- and in 2011 the faction has shown a remarkable ability to reject a compromise or deal, even if reasonable, in order to obstruct, or deny the pasage of legislation, simply becuase they believe their extreme, conservative stance should apply accross the land -- even if the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed their stance. The Teas have demonstrated this willingness to obstruct and deny by nearly forcing a government shutdown twice, and by almost triggering a U.S. government default -- something that would have rattled credit markets, and had other negative consequences --- during the debt deal crisis in August.
Boehner said if the deal is not approved by unanimous constent on Friday, he will call the House back into session for a vote next week. Odds are, enough House Republicans will vote for it to enable the deal to pass, but stay tuned.
Further, what's the only way the majority of the American people can make their intentions known and stop the Tea Party faction -- or any philosophical faction for that matter -- from thwarting the will of the American people? By voting Tea Party and other perpetrators out of office in November 2012.