House and Senate Republicans need to get acquainted


December 21, 2011 - 12:00 AM

What on earth has happened to the Republican Party?

Saturday the Senate voted 89-10 for a compromise bill that would extend the payroll tax cut for two months, extend unemployment benefits through February and keep payments to physicians who accept Medicare patients level for the same period. The bill was cobbled together by Sen. Mitch McConnell, minority leader, and Majority Leader Harry Reid. 

Sen. McConnell and 38 other Republican senators voted for the bill.

When it got to the House, the Republicans there said no.

Maybe all of this will get worked out before December ends, the payroll tax increases by 50 percent or so, the long-term unemployed are cut off from benefits as the new year begins and scads of physicians decide they no longer can afford to treat Medicare patients.

But that’s not the question. What is absolutely incomprehensible is that the super-conservative Republicans in the Senate apparently don’t talk to the super-conservative Republicans in the House.

Forget the merits of the issues involved. Suffice it to say that they are real issues involving the welfare of a very large percentage of the citizenry. Important enough, that is, to warrant the full attention of the Republican leaders of both houses of Congress. Yet there obviously was no effort to create a Republican position; a Republican strategy; a Republican solution.

An overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans went one way; enough House Republicans went the other way to kill the bill.

Sometime soon, they must hold a get-acquainted party and introduce themselves to one another.


— Emerson Lynn, jr.