"Congress took a collective step backward in wrapping up a bitter year of legislating, as President Barack Obama’s top priority over the payroll tax holiday became mired in a battle over unrelated, partisan issues," groused Politico's Jake Sherman and Manu Raju in a December 14 story.
"House Republicans jammed through a version of the payroll tax bill Tuesday evening" Sherman and Raju complained, noting that the bill "calls for construction of the controversial Keystone KL [sic] oil pipeline, scales back an air-pollution rule, cuts Obama’s health reform law and reduces the length of unemployment benefits."
"It was largely a message vote — the GOP bill is dead on arrival in the Democratic Senate and faced a veto threat anyway — but it sets the stage again for a final, frenzied bout of deal making that has defined this divided Congress," the Politico staffers added.
Of course, the Republican-controlled House is actually passing legislation for consideration by the Democratic-led Senate. What's more, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is, on advice from President Obama, threatening to hold up a vote on an unrelated spending measure to keep the government running past Friday.
Yet Sherman and Raju buried that fact deep in their article, preferring to portray Republicans as unreasonable obstructionists:
What has infuriated Republicans is Reid’s refusal — at the suggestion of Obama — to move on a separate government funding bill unless the two sides can reach a deal on the payroll tax bill. McConnell accused Democrats of raising the specter of a government shutdown simply because of concerns over the pipeline — since funding for many agencies would dry up Friday.
But Democrats say the ploy is working, and said Boehner will need to cut a deal over the payroll bill since he has no desire to see the government shut down.
By Sherman and Raju's own admission, the government shutdown threat is a "ploy" from partisan Democrats. Yet to Politico, it's Republicans who are unreasonable for linking a job-creating measure to a treasured Democratic tax holiday.