Overheard on CNN.com: Congress' lack of action sparks anger
December 20th, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Congress' lack of action sparks anger

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Congress showed little sign of resolving its partisan standoff Tuesday over the payroll tax cut extension as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure expressing disapproval of a Senate plan, and leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate insisted they won't go along with a new House proposal.

The House motion, passed in a virtual party-line 229-193 vote, called for the dispute to be immediately taken up by a House-Senate conference committee - something already ruled out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

House Republicans on Tuesday passed a motion calling for further negotiations on the payroll tax cut, disagreeing with a Senate measure that called for a two-month extension. Only Republicans supported the motion in the 229-193 vote.

The Senate voted 89-10 in favor of a two-month tax-cut extension Saturday - a fallback plan designed to give both sides more time to negotiate - but that short-term compromise has slammed into a conservative roadblock in the House, where rank-and-file Republicans are fuming over the short-term nature of the plan, among other things.

As the clock ticks down, nobody appears willing to bend and neither side seems to know how to break the logjam.

The latest political drama follows what seems like a year of endless debt talks and regular episodes of near-government shutdowns, and some people are simply fed up with Congress. We take a look at the frustration with government that people are sharing on both CNN.com and around the Web.

Some users commented they felt lawmakers from both parties are to blame and they planned to hold them accountable. They said that Americans have the power to vote out incumbents if they can't get anything done to help the people of this country.

us2us: "Who do these people represent? Answer: Themselves."

marjoreemae: "It's a shame responsible people will not come together and fix what's wrong with our country. I vote not to pay these individuals. It's time we have a real voice in our government."

gadzooks: "I do hereby call for the resignation of every member of Congress."

hv19006: "I'm just not voting for any of the incumbents in the next election. They have all proved they can't get the job done, both the Senate and the House, both the Democrats and the Republicans."

Some readers were concerned about how the tax cut would affect Social Security.  Others said a two-month-extension in general would likely do little to help.

RickyV: "The tax cut is an attack on Social Security. It should become part of the GOP platform. It's time to out the hypocrisy of the Democrats who claim to help the 'little guy' while screwing them and poor families the whole time."

KarlinT: "I actually hate to say this. ... I am totally against the GOP but a two-month extension does what exactly?! They want a one-year extension. If you want the tax break, why would you not want it to last longer?"

Others said they thought the GOP was using the issue as a chance to push the the Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

ialsoagree: "Because they have only this week to pass any bill before the tax cuts expire. The Senate passed a two-month extension with every meaning to come back to the table in January to forge a one-year extension to the tax cut.

"Republicans saw this as an opportunity to continue ramming the gas pipeline down the throat of Americans. With any luck, (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid and the Democrats will have some backbone, stick to Reid's statement that the Senate won't negotiate further until the two-month extension is passed, and let the tax cut expire. I hate to see my own taxes go up, but come January everyone making less than 106K a year will be wondering why the party of 'no tax increases' raised their taxes."

MontanaBill: "It is not a 'tax break', it's 'I'm not funding my future Social Security' break and it has provisions for a new tax on home mortgages. Obama doesn't want the pipeline decision to have to be made until after the elections so he won't have to anger environmentalists before the vote. He will approve it, eventually. And then claim credit for the jobs."

WilliamGa: "For a worthless two-month extension, we are supposed to thank them on bent knee."

Other readers squarely put the blame on Republicans. Some criticized the GOP for staunchly standing behind the wealthiest Americans while refusing to help those in need, something they thought was selfish. Others pointed fingers at House Speaker John Boehner.

jnpa: "I don't know what the GOP is thinking they will gain from all of this, but I hope the American people will remember this next election and vote them all out!"

Effelbee: "So the House GOP leaders were afraid that it would pass the House so they decided not to bring it to a vote. How democratic. Their very rich bosses must not have let them, but the average American is silenced once again."

yranny0000: "Boehner won't even put this up for a vote because he is afraid that enough Republicans will bolt from the ranks to pass it, and the GOP will look like it's lost control of the House. It is truly sad considering the number of times that Boehner ... whined about Democrats playing 'political games.' "

SND: "My concerns about Boehner's motives increase daily. It's pretty much a given that his primary goal is to replace President Obama in the White House. Somehow he's determined that publicly leading the House in destroying the American economy will lead to a Republican Congress and president. From my perspective, that is exactly what will not happen in 2012. Voters will cast their ballots against anything Republican good or bad. Boehner must have been living in an alternative universe the past several decades to have conceived such a 'strategy.' "

MET100: "A two-month extension of the payroll tax (cut) was not the perfect answer. But it was a start."

donnybp: "This is so frustrating to watch. I can't believe that these people were voted into their positions. ... Can't they just pass the extension without trying to sneak anything extra into the legislation? I, as well as many others must be, (am) just exhausted over this political show. Pass the extension, take the time off to think about what's right for the country and come back to Washington ready to pass effective legislation that's bipartisan and collectively good for the country. Stop making the country suffer for the holidays!"

Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com.  Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (1,006 Responses)
  1. rhodium

    The house GOP will make congress jump through flaming hoops for tax cuts for working people but a tax cut that benefits the very wealthy would get done in 30 seconds.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lookin2b

    I am sick of Congress acting like idiots. Congress needs to strp up to the plate and do what is right for America..........the majority of people want them to quit arguing and pass some of these bills and help out America. I know they do not like Obama, I really do not care if they do or not...........they need to campaign and win to oust him if that is what they want. Congress needs to quit trying to hold citizens hostage because they can't stand up and do whats right.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MD_Moderate

    It is time for Boehner and reid to both resign. If they were leaders of any other organizations, public or proviate, they would have been fired by now. And folks who think the payroll tax break (at least for 2011) is reducing the social security fund are dead wrong. The shortage was made up from the general fund. Congress just needs to determine what will make up the difference in 2012 – but it won't reduce the socual security account. It is so frustrating when many folks express their "opininions" without first investigating the facts. Take some time and google "US Budget 2011 and 2012" and learn where tax payer dollars actually go. You may be surprised. Send in your emails to Congress now and demand the resignations of Boehner and Reid!

    December 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aerin

    The only way to bring sanity back to this country is to clean the House of republicans in 2012.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. windybaytown

    No help from our squabbling congress once again. These folks must have flunked kindergarten and were the kind of kids who could not share nor negotiate! We are in the lifeboat and no one can row! Quit shouting at each other and DO something that helps this great nation get out of this mess! Otherwise the 99% are going to revolt! Then those in office today will be out of a job and good riddance!

    December 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred

    Mitch McConnell and his do nothing congress are back to doing what they do best- nothing. They are anti Obama even when he agrees to something they proposed earlier. Their strategy is to bring the country to its knees and blame Obama for the mess he inherited that they refuse to accept blame for. The lies of the Republican party are getting old. I used to vote Republican, now I am ashamed of this party and their idiocy. Need proof, look at the clown circus they have as GOP candidates for President. They are the weakest field I have ever seen. Look at the tea party idiocy. What a waste!

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • GCV

      Mitch McConnell should be used as the the very definition of a partisan squabbler. The man is inept. He is on Meet the Press all too often and he always kicks off whatever he has to say with a jab to the President. He must go!

      December 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I thought everyone had figured out what a pompous moron Mitch McConnell was back during the Clinton impeachment hearings.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tiredofthemall

    This is not a congress for the people. This is a congress to screw Obama. Everyone of them needs to resign. The Replublicans and the Tea Party will pay for this in the next election.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    YOU DONT HAVE TO VOTE DEMOCRAT BECAUSE CNN TOLD YOU SO

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • GCV

      I vote Democrat because I am not Greedy, I am not a Bigot, I am not Paranoid, and I am not Ignorant.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • carla

      When exactly did CNN tell us to vote Democrat?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. THOMAS KATZ

    I know what it's like to be poor and middle class. I am currenlty a millionaire, but I think what congress is doing to eliminate the middle class is dishonest. What is happening to this once great country? This is not a question we should only be asking now, but we need to continue to ask this question. I am more than happy to pay my share of taxes but it won't be a solution; the problem is greater. This problem didn't start with President Obama, look at all of the presidents before him and see what was happening during those times. They should pass a law saying Congress shall only be paid for 6 months out of every year they work! They know the game and they play it to their advantage.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Florida Joe

    The consensus on this topic seems to be that, if the elections were held today, 99% of Republicans would lose their seats. I can only hope that sentiment lasts through to November 7th (day after the election).

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Arwen

    Shame on every single one of the members of congress for either behaving like this, or allowing others to behave like this. If any American Worker performed hhis/her job this badly they would be fired – or at the very least not allowed vacation until the work was done – and Congress deserves exactly that. Do you job and you can have your holiday break – don't finish and you stay here until you do. The one thing I don't understand is how in the world these people ever got elected to public office.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. peter

    Can we please get these team zombies out of Washington. All they seem to care about is scoring points and making their "opponent" look bad. They belong coaching a football team, not managing the serious business of people's lives.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Catherine Cathy

    You people are funny, you actually think there are two parties! There is one party on our dime, and the dollar calls the shots. They have taken control of the food supply and you are worried now? Farmers are like unicorns, mythical creatures. Watch Food Inc and then tell me how worried you are about a tax cut.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GCV

    Can we start a movement to ensure that not one standing member of Congress gets reelected. With a 9% approval rating, surely that is possible. The shock to career politicians would put them in their place and end this government waste – paying these baboons a salary is the greatest waste of all.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • M-W-T

      I'm with you!!!
      How do we start?
      I think rep.pence should be first.
      How much money do we need?
      LET'S DO THIS

      December 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rabbit One

    here is the serious interesting thing – it is all about what congress can do with the money that they take from us – apparently they leave a lot to be desired – for example they do not adequately take care of the poor and vulnerable populations – apparently they go to war with our money and kill foreigners without rhyme or reason – apparently they cater to businesses – apparently they would watch you die in the street and they would not pick you up and take care of you – apparently they do not care if your kids ever go to college – but yet they spend your tax dollars and vacations and stuff like that – so be happy about that – god will eventually do something for everyone

    December 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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