Dem ads target House GOP on payroll tax

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it is launching a paid advertising campaign to pressure House Republicans to approve an extension of the payroll tax cut.

Democrats are deploying robocalls into the districts of 10 targeted Republicans, urging constituents to call their representatives and tell them “that it is unacceptable to leave Washington for the holidays and raise your taxes.”

The campaign features the first advertising linked to the payroll tax cut, which President Obama has made his top year-end priority. An average family could see its tax bill go up by $1,000 if the payroll tax cut, enacted a year ago, expires.

“Did you know that Congressman Mike Coffman [R-Colo.] is trying to leave town for the holidays without extending your payroll tax cut? That means 2.5 million middle class folks in Colorado will get a $1,000 tax increase,” the phone script reads, according to an example provided by the DCCC. “House Republicans are willing to leave for the holidays and force a $1,000 payroll tax increase on 160 million middle class Americans, while fighting for billionaires and Big Oil.”

Democrats have seized the political advantage on the issue amid divisions in the GOP over extending the tax cut, and even some Republicans have acknowledged they are losing the message battle.

But the Democratic campaign effort could be complicated by the introduction of a new Republican proposal for extending the tax cut. A vote is expected early next week, and many Democrats will oppose it over the inclusion of unrelated provisions, such as a measure forcing a fast-track decision by the Obama administration on the Keystone oil sands pipeline. That could put Democrats in the position of having to defend a vote against a tax cut they championed.

“I guess [DCCC Chairman] Steve Israel is saying that his party will oppose the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act on the floor next week that will prevent a tax hike and create jobs,” said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Not only does this put House Democrats at odds with organized labor groups that support the Keystone XL pipeline, it puts them at odds with every middle-class family that will see their taxes go up as a result.”

The DCCC would not say how much money it is spending on the campaign. The Republicans targeted are Coffman and Reps. Quico Canseco (Tex.), Jim Renacci (Ohio), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Kristi Noem (S.D.), Tom Latham (Iowa), Vern Buchanan (Fla.) Joe Heck (Nev.) Dan Benishek (Mich.) and Bobby Schilling (Ill.).