Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press is reporting that President Barack Obama urged the top leaders of Congress Wednesday to first pass a short-term extension, while promising to work with lawmakers on a full-year measure. The president called House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in an effort to end the stalemate that is threatening 160 million workers with Jan. 1 tax increases.
The two leaders are at an impasse over the payroll-tax cut. House Republicans insist on immediate talks on a full-year measure; Democrats insist that the House adopt a bipartisan Senate plan for a 60-day extension and focus on the full-year plan when Congress returns from vacation in January.
The White House said Obama told Boehner that "the short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle-class families aren't hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full-year solution."
An aide to the speaker said Boehner urged the president to press Reid to engage in negotiations on a full-year extension of a 2 percentage point tax cut for every worker and jobless benefits for millions of people out of work for more than six months.
Senate Republicans aren't even standing with House Republicans on this nonsense. Boehner's insistence on doing the wrong thing is making President Obama look pretty good. House Republicans may think they're "holding the line," but they are really isolating everyone around them, including other members of their own party. That can't be good for House Republicans in general or the GOP as a political party as we head into 2012.
Read more at the Associated Press.