Politics or publicity stunt?
A "publicity stunt" is how Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) referred to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) rant on the House floor at the end of Wednesday's pro forma session - an unhelpful one at that.
After Fitzpatrick adjourned the pro forma session, a brief meeting where no business is conducted, he walked away in silence while Hoyer continued to yell across the floor, "You're walking away just as so many Republicans have walked away from middle class taxpayers and the unemployed."
Hoyer was referring to the mounting pressure between House Republicans and Democrats, the White House and Senate Republicans over extending a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.
During an interview on "Fox and Friends" Thursday morning Fitzpatrick urged the Senate, specifically the Democrats, to come back to Washington, D.C. "I understand it's the holiday season," he said. "I prefer to be home as well, but we need to get back to Washington to do the work we were elected to do. To do the job that we're being paid to do. There's plenty of time to get it done. It may be a compromise. We have to see, but they have to get back here."
"All we're asking is Speaker Boehner to put the Senate bill on the floor. That's the normal procedure," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Special Report Wednesday night. "When you have something that's really important as a tax cut over $1,000 for the average American middle class family, and the Senate passes it overwhelmingly, you put it on the House floor."'
At Thursday's House GOP presser on Capitol Hill, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said he still doesn't think the Senate-passed bill would pass if he brought it up, expecting to only get a small percentage of Republicans and Democrats.
"If you do right thing for right reasons the right things will happen," said Boehner. "Everybody's already agreed that the best policy is a one year extension of these policies all we're fighting for is what everybody's already agreed to. Let's sit down and resolve differences."
Hoyer reiterated his sentiments on the payroll tax extension at a presser with the House Democratic leaders Thursday by saying if we don't get the payroll tax extension decided by January 1st taxes will go up for 160 million middle-class working Americans, unemployment benefits will expire and seniors on Medicare will have the security of having their doctors available at risk. "We ought not to be creating that kind of uncertainty and anxiety among the American people. The stakes are too high to be arguing about politics and process."