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Spending Bills Unlikely to Hit a Snag

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has accused Republicans of “holding hostage” a payroll tax cut extension, but she has not used such rhetoric to describe progress on appropriations bills.

Carney, when pressed whether the president’s statement that he would “reject” attaching the Keystone pipeline to the deal meant he would veto it, was noncommittal. “Reject means reject,” Carney said. He noted that Senate Democrats have already said the pipeline wouldn’t go anywhere in the Senate, so there would be nothing to veto anyway. Carney said the pipeline has “nothing to do” with whether people should have their taxes raised at the end of the year, and he said that sort of maneuver is “what gives Washington a bad name.”

Carney said Republicans’ proposals would put the “burden on working families” so that the GOP could protect loopholes and subsidies for big corporations and millionaires. He also rejected a GOP proposal to pay for the bill by cutting subsidies from the new health care law, which Carney described as refighting an old battle.

Carney said asking the middle class “to bear the burden of this deal is punishing the people you are trying to help with this middle-class tax cut.”

Noting that Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio) said he was more supportive of the package because Obama was against it, Carney wondered whether Obama should come out and say he’s against education, infrastructure and the payroll tax cut to try to get the Republicans to support them.

Carney also repeated that the president is prepared to stay in town, through Christmas if necessary, until Congress acts to extend the payroll tax cut.

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