December 01, 2011

Manchin breaks with Obama, Senate leadership on payroll taxes | The Hill

Centrist Democratic freshman Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) broke with his party’s leadership — and President Obama — Thursday by calling for his colleagues to vote against the latest Democratic jobs effort, an extension of the payroll-tax cut.

“Why would we do this?” Manchin asked, referring to the bill currently in the Senate’s queue that would extend the tax cut for an additional year. “Why would we double down on a policy that didn’t work?”

Manchin then accused leaders of both parties of playing politics in supporting the short-term tax cut that could damage Social Security’s funding.

“For short-term political gain, leaders from both parties are willing to fight over how to pay for a failed program,” Manchin said.

Early in the week when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called up the bill, he accused Republicans of opposing the tax cut, when in fact they rejected the bill because of its pay-for mechanism, a surtax on the wealthy.

Republicans hurried to come up with their own version of the tax cut, which they presented Wednesday, that would be funded by limiting pay for federal employees and reining in the expansion of the federal government.

“We are at 9 percent approval rating and we are rapidly losing the support of even our family members,” Manchin concluded in urging his colleagues to oppose the bill.  

By:  Josiah Ryan