Senators trade jabs one day after reaching compromise
December 18th, 2011
02:12 PM ET
9 years ago

Senators trade jabs one day after reaching compromise

(CNN) – One day after the Senate voted 89-10 in favor of a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, two senators argued Sunday about whether the House of Representatives wanted to move forward on the legislation.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, accused House Republicans of playing politics and “itching for a fight with Democrats in the White House” while they undermined tax relief provided in the Senate measure.

In response, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who spent 14 years as a House member before winning a Senate seat in 2010, said he was unable to explain a disconnect between the Republican leadership in the House and Senate on the Senate plan.

While Senate Republican leaders voted for the two-month payroll tax cut extension, House Speaker John Boehner rejected the plan Sunday.

Noting he would assume a Senate leadership role in January, Blunt told CNN Political Correspondent Joe Johns that he heard from former House colleagues who “don’t want to do this” because they like their own bipartisan version of a one-year payroll tax cut extension.

“I don’t know what Republicans in the House are saying they’re itching for a fight,” Blunt said in response to the accusation by Menendez. “I think what they’re saying they wanted was the one-year tax extension they paid for.”

For Menendez, the House version would pay for the tax cut extension by “taking money from the middle class to give it to the middle class.”

“In the House version, they take money from middle class families in Medicare, they take money from middle class families in health care, they take money from middle class civil servants,” he said in reference to provisions in the measure.

Menendez added that he’d “love to see a year” of tax cut extensions, but insisted Republicans had to “stop fighting for millionaires and billionaires” so that both the House and Senate could come to an agreement.

Blunt accused Menendez of simply wanting to increase taxes as part of any package, but acknowledged that the House bill was “not as bipartisan as the Senate vote.”

Political gridlock has been largely unpopular and congressional approval ratings have plummeted in response to bipartisan bickering, with only 11% of respondents saying they approve of Congress in a recent CBS News poll.

Menendez blamed the poor ratings on Republicans taking “a greater pound of flesh” from the middle class. For Blunt, both chambers are “almost totally dysfunctional” because “the president’s obligation to lead has not been met.”

Blunt also noted that “the Congress, as an institution, will not be on the ballot next year - the president of the United States will be.”

Filed under: John Boehner • President Obama • Robert Menendez • Roy Blunt • Taxes
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. a in austin

    Menendez has it correct – the party of no is not watching the backs of main street. The house bill reflects that.

    December 18, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Blunt also noted that “the Congress, as an institution, will not be on the ballot next year – the president of the United States will be.”
    I guess the good Senator doesn't know that Congress has had record low approval ratings since the Tea Party came to the House. I guess the good Senator is still living off the adrenaline of the 2010 elections, completely ignoring the fact that Republicans lost most every race and ballot issue this year. I guess the good Senator figures that if he says it enough times that people will start to believe, and I think he's right on that point.

    December 18, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. gt

    lets see menedez and his buddies had alll the power and did nothing but dig a hugh hole for the american people...i hope the gop will fight aganist what you and harry have done...nothing but more debt...

    December 18, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Republicans are in gross denial over the fact that there is a government revenue problem and that the economy has a demand problem.

    December 18, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. kyle

    The GOP congress doesn't deserve a Christmas.

    December 18, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    The obvious.......the House is NOT caving to Obama, and the Senate is.

    That should tell republicans, it is time to demand competition for all of the Senate seats up for re-election in 2012. DO NOT allow those holding those seats to run, unopposed.

    December 18, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. ahah

    Got to love the party of NO, they are so self serving it's pathetic.. Well serving to their rich masters is.

    December 18, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. FIELD1stSGT

    Have your ever heard anything so utterly stupid? Undoubtedly they did want to go forward or they would have voted no. This is the the exact reason we must rid ourselves of these dumb Liberals. They will keep the economy and no jobs completely unresponsive.

    December 18, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. diridi

    do not link this to Pipeline...o.k, Senate, you should also stop pushing High Skilled Immigration Act. It is all a lobby...that's it. Good luck. We have unemployment still...o.k, Focus on Manufacturing. Energy Independence. good luck. Obama2012.

    December 18, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. CBR

    Congress continues to argue and play politics even though the American people are angry and want Congress to get moving on legislation. The leadership continues to bicker with each other and with the opposing party. Nobody seems willing to compromise on anything. Are they all that stubborn or are they all thinking their own idea is best and the hack with what others think? Meanwhile the country is waiting to have the tax break continued and waiting for the Congress to agree to budgetary issues for more than a month or two at a time. Members change their mind constantly, No one knows from one day to the next how these people will vote. They support something one day, meet as caucuses and then change their mind. Maybe we should call for their resignations.

    December 18, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. zip

    Congress fiddles while America burns. GOP, we will remember you in 2012.

    December 18, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. chuck weidemann

    Congress will be on the ballot and those up for re- election will have to answer to voters tired of this nonsense! The institution as a whole will be and should continue to be judged as to how it functions in It's movement to resolving issues.....plain and simple!!!

    December 18, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Throwing in the pipeline deal is irresponsible !

    Imagine if they ran a five star restaurant , They would mix Pork with Fish and call it a Vegetable !

    December 18, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    The Republicans will continue this game of obstruction and brinksmanship all the way up to the 2012 election. They are doing their best to bring down President Obama and our country in their efforts to regain control.

    Think about it folks: This is how destruction the GOP is when they are not in control of the White House and Senate; imagine what they'll do to us if they were?

    Vote for our future: Re-elect President Obama and elect a Democratic House and Senate in 2012!

    December 18, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Joy

    Blunt claims Obama will be on the election hot seat in 2012. Well now Obama has something like a 48% approval rating vs. something like 12% for Congress. Guess who most Americans don't like, Senator?

    December 18, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I guess Senator Blount forgot that the entirety of Congress and 1/3 of the Senate will also be up for election this coming year, too. They have been spending the last year undermining the President and his agenda. Now they are going to have to spend the next year trying to gain back the public's trust if they want to be reelected.

    December 18, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Bushper

    The American middle class is seeing time and again that President Obama is out fighting for them everyday while the GOP is fighting for their Wall Street and Big Bussiness bosses. Heads must surely role come 2012 elections.

    December 18, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    The obvious.......the House is NOT caving to Obama, and the Senate is.
    I think you have completely missed the obvious. The facts....Senate and House Republicans appear to be on different pages. The obvious....Senate Republicans didn't vote to raise taxes, and House Republicans can ignore the Senate bill, rewrite it and still keep their noses clean on not voting to raise taxes, all the while keeping controversy and discourse alive.

    What's really obvious....Republicans are still living off the adrenaline of the 2010 elections and have not paid any attention to the polls and the 2011 elections.

    December 18, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Oldie in TampaBay

    I think it is LONG PAST TIME that the Senators are put on TERM LIMITS & that the GRAVY TRAIN they have all been on comes to a GRINDING HALT!
    I am SO sick and tired of hearing "this is what the American people want" ... they have NO CLUE what we want!

    December 18, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. ZB

    History will remember the Republican/Tparty for trying its best to take America into the Dark Ages. Lets hope the American people are smarter then that and they fail. Unfortunately I'm beginning to doubt the American People are that smart.

    December 18, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. carly

    All GOPers must be voted out in 2012 for the sanity of this country.

    December 18, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. fhfh

    actually they pretend to argue so it looks like their 200000 dollar/year salaries are justified

    December 18, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Toby

    Since so many here would love a one-party system, I extend an open invitation to China to come show us how it's done.

    December 18, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Menendez should have spoken a bit more clearly and announced that the GOBP deathcult was unwilling to "help" the poor and middle class until they could do it in a way that also screwed the poor and middle class. And Menendez, and everyone else, needs to flat out ask these greedy old parasites to name a single sacrifice they are calling on the 1% to share with the rest of us.

    December 18, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. nru

    Grover Norquist has left a brown stain on their noses.

    December 18, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |