Reid recesses Senate for one month vacation

Adam Jentleson, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) spokesman stated that the majority leader does not plan to bring the Senate back in session next week should the House of Representatives reject the Senate’s version of the bill to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

Harry Reid

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) made it clear on NBC’s Meet the Press that the bill passed out of the Senate cannot pass the House of Representatives because it only provides for a two-month extension, essentially kicking the can down the road once again. Boehner made it clear that anything short of a full-year extension could not pass.

“There is absolutely no reason the House should not pass the overwhelming bipartisan compromise passed by the Senate,” said Reid’s spokesman.

The House version of the bill extended benefits and the tax cut for a full year, did not raise taxes and was fully paid for; but short-term game-playing in DC has been the norm for the past several years and is probably just one of the many reasons that voters have such a low respect for the Congress.

The Senate approved legislation including a two-month extension of unemployment benefits and a two-month freeze of scheduled cuts to Medicare payments to doctors (known as the Doc-Fix,) and then Reid recessed the Senate for more than a month, scheduled to return to regular session Monday Jan. 23.

Only in Congress can you grant yourself a month vacation for not doing your job. We pay these folks more than $180 thousand a year and they are in session for less than half a year. That’s right, they are on vacation more than they are in Washington. Is there any wonder why people have no respect for these folks?

Harry Reid called on Boehner to bring the Senate bill to the House floor for an immediate vote saying, “Instead of threatening middle-class families with a thousand-dollar tax hike, Speaker Boehner should bring up the bipartisan compromise that Senator McConnell and I negotiated, and which passed the Senate with an overwhelming majority of Democratic and Republican votes. I would hate to think that Speaker Boehner is refusing to act on this bipartisan compromise because he is afraid it will actually pass, but I cannot imagine any other reason why he would not bring it up for a vote.”

But the Speaker’s declaration that neither he nor rank-and-file House Republicans would accept it made it clear that what had seemed a done deal on Saturday is about to collapse. Boehner wasn’t just voicing his personal opinion. The House GOP Caucus held a teleconference this weekend where it was clear that support for a short-term solution would not clear the House.  Reid’s refusal to call the Senate back to session regardless of the outcome in the House runs in stark opposition to the president’s call for the Congress to remain in session until the bill was ready for his signature.

Reid releases the dogs

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Harry Reid’s political strategist said Sunday that the decision of whether middle-class taxes go up rests entirely with the House GOP.

“There are only two choices for the House Republicans at this point: pass this bipartisan compromise or else they alone will be responsible for letting taxes rise on the middle class,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer said Boehner would be breaking his word to Reid and McConnell if he did not schedule a vote on the Senate compromise. Schumer is clearly hoping that the bill would fail to pass the House on clearly party lines so that he can use it for political purposes. Schumer could care less whether the payroll tax holiday or unemployment benefits are extended; this entire charade was intended to help bolster the Democrats class warfare strategy.

“Last week, Speaker Boehner sat in a meeting with Leader Reid and Leader McConnell and he gave Leader McConnell his proxy to negotiate a bipartisan compromise,” Schumer said. “He made public comments promising to live by whatever agreement the Senate reached. He said, ‘If the Senate acts, I’m committed to bringing the House back—we can do it within 24 hours—to deal with whatever the Senate does.’ The Senate came to a deal, and now Speaker Boehner must keep his word.”

Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker Boehner said that Schumer’s statement was pure fiction intended only for political benefit.

Chuck Schumer is Reid’s political hitman and any statement he makes is intended to communicate the party’s talking points; truthfulness may or may not have any place in his words.

A Boehner aide said Sunday that the Speaker only lauded inclusion of a provision forcing the administration to speed up consideration of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. The aide said Boehner did not commend the Senate deal as a whole.

If Schumer and Reid wanted a no-drama passage of the bill in the House all they needed to do was allow an up or down vote on the House bill they received last week. In one more example of their elitist attitudes they think the voters haven’t seen what’s happened up on Capitol Hill.

Does anyone in Washington actually say what they mean?