These are my links for December 20th through December 21st:
- Paul now top pick in new ISU/Gazette/KCRG Poll, but voters still uncertain – A new Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll of 330 likely Iowa Republican caucus goers finds Ron Paul in the top spot among GOP presidential candidates with 27.5 percent, followed closely by Newt Gingrich with 25.3 percent. Paul’s lead over Gingrich is within the poll’s margin of error at plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Mitt Romney is in third place at 17.5 percent, while Rick Perry is the only other candidate to poll in double digits at 11.2.
- Congress leaves town with an uneasy stalemate and looming payroll tax hike – “Let’s be clear: Right now the bipartisan compromise reached on Saturday is the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on January 1,” Obama said not long after the House vote. “Do not play brinksmanship. The American people are weary of it, tired of it. They expect better.”
House Republicans rejected the deal 229 to 193, with no Democratic votes, to set aside the Senate deal. GOP critics argued that the two-month deal would inject new uncertainty into a still-sluggish economy. They said they were prepared to work through the holidays to reach a deal.
- WSJ: GOP a ‘circular firing squad’ – In a devastating blow to congressional Republicans, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board blasted the GOP’s leaders on the Hill Wednesday for botching the political battle against President Barack Obama and Democrats on the payroll tax issue, arguing the party has drowned out its small victories “in the sounds of their circular firing squad.”
The editorial was headlined, “The GOP’s payroll tax fiasco: How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?”
- House Republicans who bucked their party – Seven House Republicans bucked their party and voted against sending the payroll tax bill to conference Tuesday.
Reps. Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, Chris Gibson of New York, Tim Johnson of Illinois, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Frank Wolf of Virginia all voted against sending the bill to conference. The measure, which passed 229-193, continues the legislative stalemate on Capitol Hill.
Some of the votes against sending the bill to conference appeared to be a tacit acknowledgement of the political risks House Republicans could face in the year end fight over extending the payroll tax holiday.
“I support continuing the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment insurance and making sure Medicare patients have access to the medical care they need. I had hoped the Senate would have agreed that a year extension is better than 2 months. But I know that families in Southwest Washington [state] are struggling to make ends meet, and I wanted to eliminate any of their fear that this relief wouldn’t be in place Jan. 1,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement to POLITICO.
- Why House Republicans Won’t Win on the Payroll Tax Cut Extension – With the Wall Street Journal editorial page already calling on House Republicans to surrender in their fight over a payroll tax cut extension, First Read gives three reasons why the House GOP is unlikely to win this fight:
“Reason #1: House Republicans allowed the Senate to break for the Christmas holiday without explicit orders it would need to come back. In fact, Politico notes that the silence from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is deafening. Reason #2: The Senate passed its legislation by a bipartisan 89-10 vote, raising the question whether a conference committee could produce a deal that could get 60-plus Senate votes. Reason #3: The House GOP didn’t allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, suggesting that it could have passed if they did. Those three reasons will be hard for the House GOP to explain away if the tax cut expires after Dec. 31.”
- SOPA online piracy bill markup postponed – The House Judiciary Committee confirmed Tuesday that it will delay continuing debate on the Stop Online Piracy Act until after Congress returns from its winter recess.
Committee spokeswoman Kim Smith said in an e-mailed statement that the hearing is expected to be scheduled for “early next year.”
After two days of heated debate last week, the committee adjourned its markup session on the measure without a vote. The debate over SOPA has been framed as a fight between old media and new media. Organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America have been backing the bill, while Internet firms such as Reddit have been mobilizing their users against it.