Lack of deal on payroll tax cut upsets many
Posted December 21, 2011
Updated December 22, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — The festive mood during the holiday season still can't mask growing taxpayer discontent with Congress regarding the stalemate over extending a payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of the year.
House Republicans insist on immediate talks on a full-year measure. Democrats insist the House adopt a bipartisan Senate plan for a 60-day extension and focus on the full-year plan when Congress returns from vacation in January.
Republican 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has been named to the committee tasked with hammering out a compromise between the House and Senate proposals.
"We're ready to sit down and iron out these issues," Ellmers said from Washington, D.C.
She defends the House leadership's decision to reject the Senate plan for a short-term extension. She notes that House Republicans previously approved a longer extension, but the Senate killed that idea and then left Washington for the holidays after approving the shorter extension.
"It's not an issue of pointing the finger and running home for the holiday. We're still here. We're ready to work through Christmas and New Year's if we have to," she said. "We're trying to put that certainty back in for the American people. We understand that that is what the issue is."
Clyde Bailey, owner of Bailey's Fine Jewelry in Raleigh, said Congress needs to put aside politics and extend the tax cut.
"It's time for them to stop playing the political game and care about the people who put them up there," Bailey said. "The consumer drives the economy – for the majority, they drive the economy – and if they've got that money, they're going to spend it."
Bailey's customers agree.
"We elect officials who are supposed to act like adults, but they're acting very much like children," Linda Pukenas said Wednesday.
"There are members of Congress who seem to be stone walling any sort of change," Tom Rhodes said.
Ellmers said she and her colleagues on Capitol Hill are "trying to everything we can" to reach a deal, but it has to be one that makes sense for the nation.
"If I vote for something I know is not good for (taxpayers) or good for business owners, then what am I doing?" she said.