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GOP Again Votes Down GOP Plan

Once again there was a vote on the Senate Republican compromise payroll-tax cut. Once again a majority of Republicans and all but two members of the Republican leadership failed to support the "Republican bill." Twenty-five Republican senators voted against the bill, 22 Republican senators voted for it, and the only members of the Senate leadership who cast ayes were Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and John Barrasso of West Virginia, vice-chairman of the Senate Republican conference. Republican whip John Kyl voted nay, along with Republican conference chair Lamar Alexander; John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and Republican Policy Committee chair John Thune. Former presidential candidate John McCain, who wasn't around for the last vote, supported the GOP compromise, I suspect because he felt sorry for McConnell.

The Democratic version also failed, 50-48, with Kerry and Kohl not voting. Kerry and Kohl were both yeas last time out, and theoretically could have put it over the top, 52-48. But because Senate Republicans filibuster everything, the Democrats needed 60 votes. I think Democratic senators should start wearing buttons that say, "We are the 52 percent."

Meanwhile House Speaker John Boehner says he's "confident about our ability to move ahead" with a bill that extends the payroll tax cut but also green-lights the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama has already said is a dealbreaker. House whip Eric Cantor has been trying to add a "repatriation" corporate tax cut to the bill, but Boehner vetoed that, probably because he has some inkling (as Cantor does not) that holding payroll-tax relief hostage to a tax break for corporations  is bad politics when unemployment is at 8.6 percent and median household income is, after inflation, below where it was a decade ago. But tying the payroll tax-cut to the pipeline isn't great politics either, because it allows Obama to say that if House Republicans really wanted to extend the payroll tax cut they'd give him a clean bill.