The two biggest obstacles to that departure appear to be both sides’ willingness to make concessions on payfors and the Keystone pipeline project.
Democrats, especially those with D.C. interests, have been vocal in their opposition to enacting a three-year pay freeze on federal workers and narrowing the federal workforce as a way to offset the payroll tax holiday and other provisions. And the Democrats’ proclivity toward using savings from the drawdowns in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been slammed by Republicans as gimmicky. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called such savings “phony” today.
Cornyn, a member of GOP leadership, said today the bill would have to be offset. Even though unemployment benefits were passed without offsets as recently as last year, he said, “we are in a new day. Nobody believes that the unemployment problem is going to get any better over the next year, and we have a huge debt overhanging.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he could support a bill for which the tax cut was not paid but the spending provisions were offset.
Meanwhile, Republicans refuse to budge on the Keystone issue, emboldened by the president’s public opposition to it. The measure has united GOP Members, especially those who are reluctant to support any sort of government spending bills. And the debate over the pipeline has put Democrats in a pickle: If they get much of what they want, an expansion of both jobless benefits and the payroll tax cut at current levels, would they give?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stopped short of saying the president would veto the payroll tax measure over the Keystone pipeline today.
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., left, David Goldman, center, and Arvind Chawdra right, attend a news conference in the Rayburn House Office Building on international child abduction. Goldman and Chawdra are fathers whose children were abducted by their mothers and taken abroad.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.