No winners or losers today, just a Jolt.
Typically lockstep Republican freshman US Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA, 3) broke ranks with her party on the payroll tax exemption bill today, voting to extend the tax exemption. She was one of just seven Republicans who voted for the bill, which failed 229 to 193.
In a statement to the Seattle Times, Herrera Beutler explained that she wasn't willing to increase expenses for constituents in her working-class Southwest Washington district. The tax cut, which reduces the payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, saves the average American $40 a month.
"I had hoped the Senate would have agreed that a year extension is better than two months," she told the Times repeating Republican leader Rep. John Beohner's (R-OH) clever talking point... but... "But I know that families in southwest Washington are struggling to make ends meet, and I wanted to eliminate any of their fear that this relief wouldn’t be in place January 1.”
Herrera Beutler's position was seconded by US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who accused House Republicans of "play[ing] another game of chicken with the livelihoods of Americans who want no part of their radical agenda."
Murray and the senate Democrats had been trying to extend the tax cut by offsetting it with a 1.9 percent tax on millionaires, but the Republicans successfully filibustered against that 99 percenter legislation. The compromise that was sent over to the house in today's losing vote, a temporary extension, passed the senate 89-10 after Republicans scored on their demand to make President Obama speed up the decision on the Keystone Pipeline. (Obama had wanted to put it off until after the 2012 election. Republicans wanted him on the spot in a classic jobs vs. environment controversy.)