• Congress Attempts to Set New Standard for Ineptitude With Payroll Tax Debate

    Last night, the House of Representatives… did something, which can only mean one thing: It's time for another exciting edition of government shutdown watch

    Prospects for a year-end congressional compromise on key tax and spending legislation grew more complicated Tuesday, as the Republican House passed a controversial version of a payroll tax cut extension despite a veto threat from the White House. The increasingly contentious tax dispute threatens to derail what had been an emerging compromise on separate legislation to fund the government through next September, raising the specter of a possible government shutdown this weekend if the conflict is not resolved by Friday.

    Approved on a vote of 234 to 193, the Republican tax bill would extend a one-year break in the payroll tax… But it also would accelerate the construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast that the White House is determined to slow down.

    From this perspective, it makes sense that a hipster like Newt Gingrich remains the GOP front runner. The man was into government shutdowns long before they were cool. Now shutdown threats areĀ de rigueur, but while Newt sent home thousands of federal employees in a fit of pique following a sub-optimal Air Force One seating arrangement, what cause do Senate Democrats have in blocking the House bill and possibly precipitating a shutdown?

    Apparently, the Keystone XL pipeline isn't the only "poison pill" in the payroll tax extender. Also included are provisions "that could force unemployed Americans to undergo drug tests, require them to get GEDs, and greatly reduce the time they're able to receive benefits."

    Because nothing says "limited government" like "welcome to the unemployment office, now pee in this cup."

    Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Drugs, House of Representatives, Money, Newt Gingrich, Senate, Taxes


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