In the congressional battle over an extension of the payroll tax cut, Democrats are accusing Republicans of going against the spirit of Christmas.
Democrats repeatedly used phrases such as “bah-humbug Republicans” and “GOP Grinch” in floor speeches on Monday and Tuesday to describe Republicans, thus tying Republicans to the two most infamous anti-Christmas fictional characters – Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) urged House Republicans to pass the Senate bill Monday and added, “That is the least we can do at this holiday time in remembering our neighbors who are in distress.”
The House passed a one-year extension of the payroll tax, which included some riders that Democrats did not like. The Senate passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut on Saturday and expected the House to pass its bill. House Republicans rejected that bill on Tuesday and called for a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate bills.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told House Republicans that supporting the Senate bill would be one way to “say to the American people, 'merry Christmas, happy Kwanza, happy Hanukah,' and hopefully for them, 'a happy new year.'”
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) tweeted Tuesday, “The Grinch...I mean House #GOP...is ruining Xmas, Hanukkah and entire Holiday season w/ tax hiking/UI cutting shenanigans. #YoureAMeanOne”
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) argued that Republicans are ruining Christmas for American children. He held up a Christmas stocking on the House floor Tuesday and said, “The Bible says, 'by your deeds ye shall know them.' ... It's Christmas time. Kids are hanging their socks all over the world and they're all getting up and hoping there will be something in that sock on Christmas day. And the Republicans have something to put in it.”
McDermott then held up a piece of coal and said, “They have a lump of coal. They're going to say to 160 million people, 'we're going to boost your taxes, here's your Christmas gift,' right? ... When [Americans] get up on Christmas there's going to be coal in their sock.
“The working poor of this country are counting on that tax break. They've gone out and bought gifts for their kids and they think they're going to pay for them because they have this tax reduction and you're taking it away from them after they spent the money on the Christmas gifts.”
Republicans, on the other hand, criticized Senate Democrats for being unwilling to work during their Christmas vacation on a compromise bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will not call the Senate back in session to form a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate bills. He also accused House Republicans of being unwilling to compromise.