By Bob Cusack - 12/24/11 11:00 AM EST
House Republicans won many of the negotiation battles of 2011, but the payroll tax debate was the exception to the rule.
The huge win for the White House on the tax holiday gives the Democratic Party momentum going into 2012. Democrats say they will be talking a lot about the payroll tax extension over the next couple of months, noting it expires at the end of February.
Republicans, who will be licking their wounds for a while, are hoping voters are thinking about something else when they go to the polls next November.
Dec. 7, 2010 — President Obama and the GOP strike a major tax policy deal. The accord, which extended the Bush tax rates for two years and included a one-year payroll tax extension, is attacked by liberals.
June 15, 2011 — Obama indicates he is open to extending the payroll tax holiday. He later calls for not only extending the holiday, but broadening the tax cut in 2012.
June 16, 2011 — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calls payroll tax cuts a “sugar high.”
July 21, 2011 — A group of 62 House Democrats sends a letter to Obama, objecting to the president’s plan: “We remain gravely concerned that yet another, unacceptable cut to Social Security’s revenue stream appears to be on the table.”
July 31, 2011 — Obama and the GOP strike a deal to lift the debt limit. The agreement creates a bipartisan, bicameral “supercommittee,” which is expected to tackle the payroll tax cut extension issue.
Aug. 14, 2011 — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) expresses opposition to extending the tax cut holiday: “I’m not in favor of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Sept. 11, 2011 —Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the House GOP campaign committee, calls a payroll tax cut extension “a horrible idea.”
Nov. 21, 2011 — Supercommittee members announce they were unable to reach a deal, leaving the payroll tax cut extension in limbo.
Dec. 1, 2011 — Asked whether letting the payroll tax holiday expire would hurt the economy, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “I’m not an economist. I don’t know what kind of impact it’s going to have on the economy."
Dec. 1, 2011 — Senate votes down dueling tax plans: The Democratic version goes down mostly along party lines, while the GOP version is soundly defeated, only attracting 20 votes.
Dec. 6, 2011 — House Republicans, split over the merits of a payroll tax holiday, start to craft their alternative measure as White House hammers the GOP.
Dec. 14, 2011 — House GOP gains political leverage by passing its payroll tax measure, 234-193. The bill includes provisions pushing Obama to make a decision on the controversial Keystone oil pipeline.
Dec. 15, 2011 — Senate Democrats and Republicans float the idea of a two-month extension to the payroll tax holiday.
Dec. 17, 2011 — The Senate passes a two-month extension to the tax holiday, 89-10. Obama hails the passage, but says it would be “inexcusable” for Congress not to extend the tax cut for the entirety of 2012.
Dec. 17, 2011 — During a conference call with House GOP members, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggests support for the Senate-passed measure, according to lawmakers. One GOP member on the call said Boehner said, “We have to pick our fights.” But dozens of Republicans balk at the Senate deal, and GOP leaders agree to fight it.
Dec. 20, 2011 — House votes to go to conference with the Senate, essentially killing the Senate measure. Seven Republicans defect.
Dec. 20, 2011 — Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who is up for reelection in 2012 in a blue state, slams House GOP for “playing politics” with the tax vote.
Dec. 20, 2011 — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says the House GOP’s reluctance to pass bipartisan Senate legislation is “harming the Republican Party.”
Dec. 21, 2011 — Political pressure builds against House Republicans as Obama and congressional Democrats accuse them of seeking to raise taxes. The Wall Street Journal editorial page and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove contend that House GOP should fold, and pass the Senate bill.
Dec. 22, 2011— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issues a statement calling on the House to pass Senate measure.
Dec. 22, 2011 — House Republicans cave, agree to pass the Senate bill once Democrats in the upper chamber agree to name conferees.
Dec. 23, 2011 — The House and Senate pass the measure by unanimous consent. Obama signs the bill into law.