Another day, another round of political power plays that put the livelihoods of everyday Americans at risk.

From USA Today:

The Republican-led House today rejected a Senate-passed bill that would extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for two months. The vote was 229-193. The tax cut and unemployment benefits expire Dec. 31.

If the benefits expire at the end of the year, 160 million Americans will see a tax increase while about 2.2 million long-term unemployed will see their benefits disappear. Medicare payments to physicians also will drop, raising concerns that doctors will limit their care to seniors.

The clincher here is that the bill was overwhelmingly supported by both parties in the Senate as well as by the White House. Those who voted against the bill cited the need for a “more responsible” approach to applying funds; instead of passing the current bill, which enacts a two-month extension to buy time and work out an ideal structure for the tax cut and for unemployment compensation, the GOP will only agree to at least a one-year long solution. In other words, they want it their way or no way at all.

In the meantime, the majority of American households will see the repeal of the tax cut that most of us have been factoring into our current earnings reflected in our first paychecks of the year; a household earning $50,000 a year will effectively see their taxes increase by about $1,000 next year, netting them $40 less with each paycheck, which doesn’t sound like a whole lot but every little bit helps. This, of course, comes in tandem with the loss of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. Barack Obama held a press conference slamming the do-nothing congress, making it clear that “the clock is ticking…time is running out. And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days.”

Watch Barack Obama’s response to this stalemate here.


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