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Fitzpatrick Adjourns House Floor, Denies Dems' Request for Vote on Payroll Tax

The Bucks County congressman presided over the morning session, closing it despite the protests of Maryland Democrats Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen.

The congressional fight over the payroll tax cut continued this morning when Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), serving as Speaker pro tempore, adjourned a House session while representatives Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) requested a floor vote on the Senate bill that provides a two-month extension.

“Mr. Speaker," Hoyer said, "I would like to ask for unanimous consent that we bring up the bill to extend the tax cut to 160 million Americans, as you walk off the floor Mr. Speaker, you’re walking away, just as so many Republicans have walked away from middle-class tax payers, the unemployed, and very frankly as well from those who will be seeking medical assistance from their doctors — 48 million senior citizens.”

Fitzpatrick oversaw the morning session in place of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has refused to bring the bill to the floor for an up-and-down vote, instead demanding that negotiations continue for a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut.

The Senate began negotiating last week over the bill to extend the payroll tax cut, jobless benefits and delay scheduled pay cuts to Medicare physicians. The $33 billion bill passed the Senate with a 89-10 bipartisan vote on Saturday, with the Senate then adjourning for the year. The deal also included a concession by President Obama to make a decision within 60 days on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that Republicans say could generate significant jobs, but environmental groups say extending the Canadian oil pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico could have disastrous consequences.

Leaders have told media outlets that the plan was to give more time to discuss longer extensions before the Jan. 1, 2012, deadline, when the tax cut would expire.

When the bill reached the House, however, the conservative caucus refused to support it. On Tuesday, a 229-193 vote, mostly along party lines, rejected the Senate compromise and called for a bipartisan House-Senate committee to form new legislation for the one-year extension. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) rejected the committee proposal, as the White House also rejected Boehner's request that the President urge the Senate to return to session and create a new deal.

"We're here. We're ready to work," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. "We can resolve these differences ... and give the American people a real Christmas present."

The actions by the House has drawn criticism from many sources that normally support the GOP, including a scathing editorial by the Wall Street Journal, which said, "GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be re-elected. Given how he and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest."

“This is a colossal fumble by the House Republicans,” a senior Senate GOP aide told Politico.com, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about his own party. “Their inability to recognize a win is costing our party our long-held advantage on the key issue of tax relief. It’s time for Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor to look these rookies in the eye and explain how the game is won or lost.”

keepitreal December 22, 2011 at 02:35 PM
If our congressman is in favor of the two month extention of the tax cut that was passed in the senate he should make a public statement. His silence and his actions on the house floor yesterday infer that he is a loyal foot soldier in the obstructionist camp.
Doug December 22, 2011 at 04:54 PM
The $33 billion bill passed the Senate with a 89-10 bipartisan vote on Saturday, with the Senate then adjourning for the year. When the bill reached the House, however, the conservative caucus refused to support it. Fitzpatrick will not show his face over the Holiday, except at fundraisers by "vested interests"...Her will be too busy accepting gifts from the "vested interests" he refused to entertain when he represented people (his constituents). 160 million impacted, but I guess Fitz is only interested in HIS stocking. Lobbyists get one vote and so do the 160 million. Fitz, you are making money the old fashioned way,...by selling your sole at Christmas, the season of accepting for your ilk.
Tom December 22, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Don't blame Mr. Fitzpatrick for his behavior. After all, he would be just another out of work lawyer i it weren't for the GOP. He has to follow direction. That's why the GOP uses him. He's not particularly bright, he has no core beliefs, he refuses to face the public (e.g. his phone chats, where his handlers can control the callers) because he would look foolish having his handlers give him the proper response. Fitzpatrick believes in nothing except what he's told to believe. He's owed his job to the GOP from day 1, including his lawyer job. But hey, you all elected him....twice!! Maybe next time you'll look at his voting record. If you'r iddle class and voted for him, you got what you deserved,
Bobz December 22, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Didn't the GOP claim that if elected to the majority it was going to get the American economy going while campaigning prior to the 2010 election? Then this lazy bum Fitzpatrick gets the gavel and slinks off like a weasel when he could do something significant for the people who sent him to Washington to do a job. How is this guy earning his salary? He's up for re-election in 2012, time to send him back to the private sector and elect someone who will actually spend time and effort earning their paycheck not another slacker who's just riding the gravy train and being unproductive.
Steve Cickay August 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Fitzpatrick is bought by the rich. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional and swayed by his endless propaganda funded by your tax dollars. WHY DO WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO SHOVEL OUR TAX DOLLARS TO The RICH? Even if you area Tea Party ideologue, this policy is insanity when we have such a deficit. Why feed the rich? Why? Because you are beholden to the rich who fund your campaign. Let's elect someone who will represent us all and not just the rich fat cats.

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