Editorial by IlstuStudent.
Republicans in the House passed a tax bill that extends the existing cut to social security payroll taxes, which is set to expire at the end of this year. The measure keeps the social security payroll tax at the current 4.2%. If the bill fails to pass Congress, the 4.2 percent provision will end, increasing Social Security payroll taxes to 6.2 percent, as they were before the passage of the tax provision set to expire. This is a measure that Republican supporters are happy over, saving American families money and inching closer to justifying the privatization of Social Security.
Another provision of the House version of the bill is extended long-term unemployment benefits, which are also set to expire at the end of this year. This is obviously a Republican compliance tool for Democratic support, winning Congressional passage by appealing to the demands of our Democratic representatives. Another favorable measure is the end of cuts in doctor reimbursement payments under Medicare, which keeps elderly patients in the care of doctors who participate in the Medicare program.
Other provisions in the bill force the president and Congress to legislate and decide on the Keystone XL Pipeline project. This provision is holding up the passage of the bill in the Senate among other anti-democratic provisions. Republicans are beating the pipe line drum as a private sector victory that mends the recession by making jobs and bringing us closer to energy independence. Democrats see this as divisive and not in keeping with the merits of the bill. The strategy by pipeline proponents is to force the passage of ill advised, misguided, highly contested political controversies in a bill that must be passed.
This is a Republican attempt to back Democrats into a corner, demanding they pass this bill on the grounds of the provisions they want and not the ones they do not want. Republican are asking Democrats to overlook the rest of the package, which constituents do not want. Majority senate Leader Harry Reid promised the bill will not pass the senate. President Obama also plans on vetoing this bill, in the off chance that it will pass.
Partisan games slow the legislative process. The media plays a role in crafting our feelings about this process. The truth is, polarization of our Congress causes stagnation. Issues of national concern can not be solved without real cooperation. On election day, change the demographic of Congress for the better.