Pelosi: GOP tax bill ‘doesn’t have a shot’

Republican extremism is the only thing stopping Congress from finalizing an extension of the payroll-tax cut and getting out of town for the holidays, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charged Friday.

The California Democrat hammered the tax package from House Republicans, warning that the addition of poison pill riders — particularly language expediting approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline — means the bill is dead on arrival.  

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Their proposal doesnt have a shot, Pelosi said during a brief press event in the Capitol. What were doing here is pointless because it isnt going to pass the Senate.

Pelosi said she hadnt seen the final language of the Republican bill, which was posted roughly an hour before her news conference. But the inclusion of the Keystone language — designed to attract the support of wary conservatives — indicates the GOP isnt serious about enacting the legislation, Pelosi charged.

Noting that many Republicans initially opposed an extension of the payroll-tax holiday, Pelosi applauded GOP leaders for finally getting behind that provision.

But, Pelosi added, [they] put so many poison pills on it that it couldnt possibly survive.

We dont have time for sending messages. We have to create work for the American people.

Its not about what the American people are thinking — they support a payrol-tax cut, whether theyre Democrats or Republicans or independents, she added. Its about the extremism of the Republicans in the House of Representatives that remains the obstacle to this tax cut.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) joined the criticism Friday, saying the unrelated and controversial additions in the Republicans final proposal will likely sink the bill.

Democrats remain willing to work with Republicans to extend these critical measures before Congress adjourns for the year, Hoyer said in a news release, but I do not believe that the plan Republican leaders proposed this morning would be the best path forward to do so.

President Obama on Wednesday suggested he would veto any bill that expedites a decision on the Keystone project — a decision the State Department has postponed until after next years elections.

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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, raised eyebrows Friday when he said hed be open to including the Keystone language to secure an extension of the payroll-tax holiday, which will otherwise expire Jan. 1. Cleaver suggested Obama might do the same.

“I think [Obama] is serious, but at the end, it may be [that] here’s an opportunity to get a deal and get what I want and go home, Cleaver said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe program.

Pelosi rejected that assessment Friday, saying she takes the president at his word.

“I don’t think it poses a problem [for Democrats], Pelosi said. “The president has said he will veto the bill — he will veto the bill.

A spokeswoman for Cleaver later said that the congressman misspoke, and had no intention of supporting the bill.