Game of Chicken? Payroll Tax Fight Could Cost GOP

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WASHINGTON -- Congress' public approval rating is in the tank and the latest spat between Democrats and Republicans over the payroll tax cut isn't helping.

The gridlock is particularly damaging to Republicans, who rejected the Senate's two-month payroll tax cut extension in favor of a deal that will last through the end of next year.

"The Senate Democrats short-changed the American public by passing a measly two-month extension and then racing home to their vacation," Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, charged.

The GOP wants Senate Democrats to come back to the table and negotiate.

"All we're asking for is to get the Senate members over here to work with us to resolve our differences so we can do what everybody wants to do -- extend the payroll tax credit for a year," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
 
But Democrats say the only way they'll return is if the GOP-controlled House first gives the bipartisan Senate bill a clean 'up' or 'down' vote.

House Democrats tried to bring the measure back to the floor Wednesday, but their argument didn't convince Republicans.

"I can't remember a time when 160 million Americans were adversely affected by the actions we took yesterday, where 160 million Americans are uncertain as to whether or not their tax cut will continue on January 1," Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said

While Congress' approval is falling, the president's numbers are on the rise. The news suggests to some that House Republicans are losing this battle -- not only among the public, but even with some in their own party.

"Many of you have been reporting on it -- of the growing chorus of Republicans who are calling on Speaker Boehner and the House leadership to do the right thing and pass this bipartisan compromise," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
 
This latest fight represents the severe amount of distrust between congressional Republicans and Democrats.

As Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., put it, "If we can't negotiate in good faith, on a two-month compromise, how can we negotiate a one-year deal?"

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