Since this is inevitably going to be the next outrage-cow to be milked in the name of faux-accountability, it makes sense to get out ahead of it.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate voted on Saturday to extend a payroll tax cut for two months in legislation that also attempts to force President Barack Obama to approve construction of an oil pipeline.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed the legislation by a vote of 89-10. It is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives next week, and if approved, will then go to Obama for his signature.
The measure also would extend long-term unemployment benefits for another two months. [...]
The payroll tax cut extension contains a provision many Democrats, including Obama, had opposed. It attempts to speed approval of construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Gulf of Mexico facilities in Texas.
This bill does not guarantee the implementation of the Keystone Pipeline. What it does is move up the timeline the Obama administration has to make a decision, effectively forcing him to decide during election season rather than after.
I think it's a mistake on the Republican's part to assume he will approve of the pipeline if the decision is made sooner rather than later. In fact the very idea is contradictory to common sense. But if this allows an extension of unemployment benefits and payroll tax-cuts, even if only for two months while congress goes on vacation, so be it.
This bill also funds the government through next September, which basically solidifies the chances of the Bush Tax Cuts going away, because any legislation that would reverse the current baseline, which includes an automatic expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts, would have to be passed by October when fiscal 2013 begins.
There's no way any of the Bush Tax Cuts, whether its the low tier or high tier, will be extended two months out from the presidential election.
Last but not least, much like the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed by a margin of 86 to 13, this bill passed by a margin of 89 to 10, which makes both bills veto-proof. And while it's difficult to justify vetoing a bill just for symbolism's sake at the expense of average people, the option really isn't there anyway.
The overwhelming support both bills received in such short-order is a sign that congress is more concerned about going home for Christmas than doing their job.
This congress is a shit sandwich, and we're all having a bite. And because he is more interested in the best interests of average Americans rather than himself, President Obama is eating half the sandwich for us.