While Republican leaders gathered in Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol office Wednesday morning for a photo op with reporters — hectoring Democrats and making the case that they’re on the right side of the payroll tax fight — an unusual scene played out on the House floor.
In an attempt to illustrate just who’s at fault for the payroll tax stalemate Minority Whip Steny Hoyer showed up to ask for a vote on the Senate’s compromise bill. Republicans could have simply objected and given Hoyer his talking point. Instead they gave him so much more.
Republicans just ignored Hoyer and refused to hear his unanimous consent request. The fill-in Speaker simply walked away.
“Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for unanimous consent that we bring up the bill to extend the tax cut to 160 million Americans, as you walk off the floor Mr. Speaker, you’re walking away, just as so many Republicans have walked away from middle-class tax payers, the unemployed, and very frankly as well from those who will be seeking medical assistance from their doctors — 48 million senior citizens.”
The Speaker Pro Temp, Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), was just following orders. But the optics for Republicans — who were, again, just down the hall for a media spray — were terrible.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.