The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer reports on a strange dynamic in the fight between the White House and congressional Republicans over the extension of some modest payroll tax cuts:
In a sharp role reversal, Democrats and Republicans have become divided over whether to extend a federal payroll tax cut enjoyed by every working American last year, with Democrats leading the charge for the tax break and many Republicans demanding that the cut be paid for if it is extended at all.
It is a shift from the recently failed deficit talks when Republicans pushed for extending Bush-era tax cuts without paying for them and Democrats argued against added tax breaks for the most affluent Americans. Now the fight over how to handle the tax cuts as well as added unemployment benefits is set to play out in the final month of the year as the two parties prepare for a politically charged 2012.
The White House messaging operation has been hammering home on this theme. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett took the GOP to task on the cuts today on MSNBC.
“There are no reasons why we should see taxes go up if Republicans are willing to act. They’re the ones that don’t want to raise taxes, so why would they allow – come January 1 – for taxes to go up on these hard-working Americans?” said Jarrett on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” And yesterday during the daily briefing, press secretary Jay Carney echoed the same theme.
“I thought they were for tax cuts” said Carney. “What you all are telling me is that Republicans are going to vote against it?”