Atheists and pagans are a combative bunch, always opening up new fronts in the War on Christmas with their demands to keep Saturn in Saturnalia, their obstinate insistence on upholding the separation of church and state and their desire to commemorate the Christmas season by cancelling unemployment benefits for 3 millions jobless Americans and raising payroll taxes on 160 million workers.
And for that last one, by "atheists," I mean House Republicans…
The House is gone, mostly. The Senate vows not to return. And President Obama is home in Washington while his family vacations in Hawaii, hoping for some kind of agreement between the two that he can sign. That was the uneasy state of play Tuesday after a year of acrimony and stalemate came to a head on Capitol Hill, leaving millions of American workers facing a tax increase in two weeks.
The House voted on Tuesday to reject a Senate compromise that would have extended a federal payroll tax holiday for two months, continued unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and averted a cut in the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat Medicare patients.
The gridlock is easy to explain as long as you take the time to append "because SUCK ON IT" to any account of this issue.
For example, the reason why a 2-month extension of the payroll tax cut passed by the Senate is unacceptable to the House, even though 56 House Republicans co-sponsored a 2-month payroll tax cut in January 2009, is suck on it. Republicans are deeply committed to supporting any and all tax cuts, except those supported by the Obama administration, because suck on it. The Bush-era income tax cuts did require not any offsets because "tax cuts pay for themselves" while Obama-era payroll tax cuts require con-commitment spending cuts because suck on it.
And the reason a compromise Senate proposal must be still be sent to a joint House-Senate conference committee is Schoolhouse Rock said so…
"Since the dawn of the republic, these are how differences are settled between the House and Senate," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said on the House floor. "If you don't remember your civics 101, maybe if you have small children like I do, you can go back and watch the 'Schoolhouse Rock' video. It's very clear."
Except in the Schoolhouse Rock video, the bill moves directly from one chamber to the next, without a conference committee. Should have just stuck to the Law of Suck On It.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: House of Representatives, Jeb Hensarling, Money, Senate, Taxes