Senate Democrats

Key Dates in the Boehner Payroll Tax Cut Debacle

o   WEDNESDAY: Speaker Boehner sat at a meeting in Senator McConnell’s office last Wednesday with Senator McConnell and Senator Reid. Speaker Boehner said the two Senate leaders should negotiate a deal, and that Senator McConnell would have his proxy.  [CNN, 12/14/11]

o   THURSDAY: Speaker Boehner made public comments promising to live by whatever agreement the Senate reached. He said, “If the Senate acts, I’m committed to bringing the House back—we can do it within 24 hours—to deal with whatever the Senate does.”  [Washington Post, 12/15/11]

o   FRIDAY: Speaker Boehner reacted to reports that we may have to settle on a two-month extension by saying if the Senate passed that, he would take it, add the Keystone pipeline provision to it, and send it back to the Senate. So we added the pipeline into the deal in the Senate because that’s what Speaker Boehner said he needed to get the measure through the House. [CNN, 12/18/11; Washington Post, 12/17/11]

o   FRIDAY NIGHT: After Senator McConnell presents the payroll tax deal to his caucus, he is captured in this video leaving the caucus “high fiving” Senator Barrasso.  Later Senator McConnell tells reporters, “I obviously I keep the Speaker informed as to what I’m doing.”  [CNN, 12/16/11; Roll Call, 12/18/11]

o   SATURDAY: McConnell calls payroll tax cut compromise a bill designed to pass.  McConnell said, “I thank my friend, the Majority Leader, for the opportunity to work together with him on something that could actually pass the Senate and be signed by the President.” [McConnell Floor Speech, 12/17/12]

o   SATURDAY: Speaker Boehner called the deal a “good deal” and a “victory”. According to reports, he urged his caucus to declare victory and pass it, on a conference call. [CNN, 12/18/11; Washington Post, 12/17/11]

o   SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Senator McConnell gave his consent to allow the Senate to adjourn for the year.  [The Hill, 12/17/11]

o   SUNDAY: Once Tea Party Republicans in his caucus rebelled, Speaker Boehner reversed course and is now disowning the deal he had supported 24 hours earlier.  [CNN, 12/18/11; Washington Post, 12/17/11]