WASHINGTON — The potential Republican retreat from a hard-line stance on extending the payroll tax cut comes as GOP leaders have been quietly urging their Tea Party members to be less extreme.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his top lieutenants on Monday proposed extending the 2-percent cut for the rest of the year without first finding a way to pay for it — a dramatic switch from a position that led to a pre-Christmas showdown that almost saw lawmakers working through the holiday.
Then, Boehner announced a deal for a two-month extension, only to have his caucus rebel before they ultimately capitulated, agreeing to the short-term deal, as well as appointing a conference committee with the Senate to figure out how to pay for a full year, and prevent a cut in doctors’ payments from Medicare and an expiration of long-term unemployment benefits.
Republicans took a beating in the debate, and it was an embarrassment they are eager not to repeat. So, sources told The Huffington Post, leaders have been pushing the caucus to be a little more thoughtful in their opposition to Democrats — especially over something like a tax-break for the middle class in an election year — and to consider how it plays politically.
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