The National Republican Congressional Committee is going after 13 potentially vulnerable House Democrats on the payroll tax cut extension, attempting to pin the blame on them for Congress's failure to extend the cut.
The targets: Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Lois Capps (Calif.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Mark Critz (Pa.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Heath Shuler (N.C.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Brad Miller (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Betty Sutton (Ohio).
The calls frame the issue as Democrats refusing to push for a long-term extension, although that had been their original goal.
"Not only did Altmire vote last week to pave the way for a tax increase for you and every other American middle-class family, but he is now stubbornly standing by his position that could raise your taxes by over a thousand dollars starting on Jan. 1," says one version of the script. "Even House Republicans and President Obama agree that we should find an immediate long-term solution for middle-class Americans. Why doesn't Jason Altmire want to give American families the same stability over the holidays"
The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative House Democrats, pushed back against the calls. "Republican House leaders’ failure to act all year has left the Congress facing this deadline," said Blue Dog PAC spokesperson Andrew Whalen. "Now, these same Republicans are lashing out like angry shoppers at the mall on Christmas Eve — blaming others for the mess their own stubbornness and procrastination have created."
The Senate passed a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut with wide bipartisan support, but House Republicans rejected the agreement. The issue has turned into a problem for House Republicans, as Senate Republicans including John McCain (Ariz.) and Scott Brown (Mass.) have strongly criticized House Republicans for failing to pass the measure. These calls seek to focus the blame on the Democrats.
This post was updated at 2:24 p.m.