After a rare display of bipartisanship on Monday on a spending bill to keep the government running through 2012, Tuesday gave way to another day of bitter back and forth, in which Democrats and Republicans aimed to out-maneuver and out-smart each other.
The Republicans managed to pass their payroll tax cut bill in the House with the controversial measure to speed up the decision on green-lighting the Keystone oil pipeline. It almost certainly won’t make it through the Senate and the White House made clear today that President Obama will veto it if it does. He’s decided the Keystone pipeline has to wait until after the elections and won’t be dragged into this debacle.
In theory, the House-approved bill clears the way for the two sides to compromise and get the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extended by year end. It’s pretty clear that most Republicans and Democrats want to give the boost to voters and the fragile American economy. And the White House says it still expects an “eleventh hour” deal. But after watching the elaborate political theater that played out on Tuesday, it’s anyone’s guess when cooler heads might prevail.
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U.S. lawmakers in showdown over payroll tax cuts
U.S. Republican and Democratic lawmakers are locked in an end-of-year fight that threatens a government shutdown, an effective tax hike for 160 million Americans and the loss of benefits for millions of unemployed. With just days left to resolve the crisis, both parties traded recriminations on Tuesday even as they tried to out-maneuver each other for political advantage in a high-stakes battle that will likely carry over into the 2012 elections.