Right from the start of her off-lead story Wednesday, New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer dramatically portrayed GOP conservatives (standing firm against a legislative compromise that would temporarily extend the payroll tax cut instead of a long-term solution) as isolated from mainstream politics. “G.O.P. In House Rejects Stopgap On Payroll Tax.”
After defiantly rejecting a Senate compromise to extend a payroll tax break and jobless pay, Speaker John A. Boehner stood before the television cameras on Tuesday enveloped by scores of House Republicans. Even as a group, they seemed very much alone.
By turning down a bill that was overwhelmingly supported by both parties in the Senate as well as the White House, the conservative House majority that has spent the year inciting combative legislative showdowns is now staring over the brink, standing fast against legislation with significant financial consequences for nearly every American household.
Mr. Boehner of Ohio, the first-year speaker who has struggled throughout 2011 to corral his members, said House Republicans would not relent and accept a two-month extension of the tax cut that was approved by the Senate on Saturday as a way to buy time for a more permanent solution. He instead named members to a committee to negotiate a new agreement with the Senate, which adjourned Saturday.
If no resolution can be found, House Republicans -- who have managed to escape the tag of the party that shut down government despite repeated close calls -- now risk the odd political development of being accused of being the impediment to a tax cut.
As Sacramento bureau chief during California's 2009 budget showdown, Steinhauer was also hostile toward Republicans, and fingered local party lawmakers as culprits for refusing to sign on to tax hikes.