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December’s fight over the payroll tax cut package left several Republican Members, particularly those in the freshman class, weary and disillusioned after having to swallow a compromise they didn’t like.
Because the payroll tax cut conference committee faces an end-of-February deadline to strike a deal, the Conference must be ready to vote on it, even if it excludes some of the priorities they included in the House-passed bill, such as changes to unemployment insurance eligibility and cuts to the Affordable Care Act.
House leaders have a challenge ahead in keeping the party unified and on message as they head toward the November elections.
It helps that right off the bat, Obama gave Republicans a cause to rally around early this month when he used a recess appointment to install Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and three picks to the National Labor Relations Board.
Obama’s use of recess appointments when the chambers were using pro forma sessions to block them allows leadership a valuable opportunity to channel GOP frustration and return from the retreat swinging in that direction.