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. bob

    Need more time to decide if you will join me? DEMAND ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS RESIGN. Need more proof? Time?
    .P a p a r a z z i n c d o t c o m

    December 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jianna

    The GOP are just greedy weasley traitors and we the American will make sure you are left out in the cold in November 2012 and forever thereafter. GOP you are sick, delusional, and arrogant. Get the heck out of my country while you have the chance. Take Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed with you!

    December 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steve

    Odd.....eight anti GOP comments to end the article and not one anti DEM. Gee CNN, showing your true colors again.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stacey C

    Since when did they stop representing what the people want? I don't want a 2 month extension but with the pipeline added to the 1 year I don't want that either. Keep your friggin' money if you must – although it amounts to a tax increase – but work out the real issues this country needs. Grow the heck up and act like the adults that you appear to be and do the right thing for your constiuents – not just the ones who line your pockets for the next vote. Buffet is right – if you cannot do your job then you should never be up for a reelection!! Budget not balanced – no chance for renewing your job. SS not paid – neither are you. Get on with it!

    December 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Headhunter1950

    I was introduced to my congressman who promptly stuck his hand out to be shaken. I looked at him, laughed and walked away. On my retreat I stated " How's it feel to be ignored the same way you ignore those that voted for you?" I hope he got the point.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wyldbyll

    gee what a surprise ,
    once again " our " elected politicians ,
    have let us down . . . .

    well take heart ,
    we only have to suffer through another year ,
    of " our " do nothing bs congress ,
    then we can vote them all out .

    December 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gabe

    Ok so the far right wack job House Repubs have now been called out..by thier OWN party in the Senate. 90% BIPARTISAN agreement on a measure to extend the tax cut on middle class Americans and the Tea Party Repubs block it!? 2012 hurry up! VOTE EM' OUT!

    December 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ed McDuffie

    I am tired of having my congressman being told by one man how to vote on issues effecting his district. My congressman signed a paper giving him power over how my representative should vote. Every republican took that pledge, congress is being run by one person that has not been elected by anyone.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Craig in LA

    Why are our national politicians so polarized? There was a time when they could come to agreement for the good of the country even if they weren't happy with the agreement. Now it seems to be my way or the highway. Yes, the House should vote on this extension. I fail to see how this payroll tax cut will make a significant impact on an individual level, but go ahead and pass the 2 month extension and be done with it. However, before you all throw dirt on the republicans in the House, don't forget that the House has sent quite a few passed bills to the Senate and Harry Reid has refused to allow them to come up for debate or vote. This door swings both ways. Our national leaders also need to understand something that the average citizen knows all too well... you can't spend money you don't have. The caveat to that is that you can't continue to raise taxes to cover your free-spending ways. This nation is in way too much debt. I think a majority of citizens would be willing to absorb higher taxes if they saw a true solid effort at reducing expenses by our government. Stop the annual built-in budget increases, and pay raises. That would be a good start. You could also look at all new funding for programs the last 5 years and cut it off. If we didn't need to fund those programs 10 years ago, we don't need to fund them now. Sure, they would be nice to fund and help out the beneficiaries, buit we have NO money.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    I find it deeply disturbing that the House Speaker can prevent a vote on a matter simply because HE doesn't want it to go through. If Boehner was in my district, I certainly would be voting for someone else when his term comes up.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Meritocrat

    Watching the debate in the House...such hubris on the part of the majority. Here's my question...Did the Senate minority leader (McConnell) go into negotiations with the Senate Majority leader (Reid) without knowing what the House's red lines were? NO! Senator McConnell got everything Boehner asked for – EVERYTHING! But afterwards, Speaker Boehner's Tea-Party extremists decided to move the goal-posts (again). I can't wait for the American voters to hand Speaker Boehner and his tantrum throwing Tea Party toddlers their rear-ends (heads inserted). Merry Christmas Nancy.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sergio

    Payroll tax cut, today the overall argument make it easy to remove 160 billionth from the Social Security Fund, tomorrow will be difficult to return to the 6.2%, Remember the Bush tax cut, it was suppose to be a temporary 10 year cut?, and the national debt continue to grow to more than 15 trillionth!
    Under 8 years of President Reagan the national debt increase by 1.873 trillionths
    Under 4 years of President Bush 1 the national debt increase by 1.483 trillionths
    Under 8 years of President Clinton the national debt increase by 1.419 trillionths
    Under 8 years of President Bush 2 the national debt increase by 6.656 trillionths (bush tax cuts)
    Under 3 years of President Obama the national debt increase by 4.334 trillionths (bush tax cuts)
    The nation needs to increase revenue to control the national debt, the payroll tax cut will only contribute to the deficit and overall debt; sooner or later we have to pay the piper or declare national bankruptcy just like Greece.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Terry

    The stratgy of compromise involves "last minute" negotiations, but I strongly reject what "last minute" has meant to this congress. Intransigence (childishness) leads to nothing, or decisions made well after they should have been made.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    I am for cutting pay raises of any pay for our elcted officals until they sit down and compromise and pass a bill that will benefit the people of America. Wait till they vote themselves in for a pay raise next year. I bet they will have no problem agreeing on both sides to how much pay increase they get.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul D. Jackson

      I vote for that each day our congress sits on it's ass and does nothing for the people they get docked a thousand from their pay. Sick and tired of this bull.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alvin

    Did you drive to work today BinFL? Did your gas come from oil bought from countries who basically would prefer to see us crushed? Now, lets continue to get our oil there, instead of from a country who it would behoove us to be friends with. Not to mention it just makes sense. Creates jobs too you say, OK, I'll take that too. And for the record I am on board with any bill that truly creates jobs, even if Obama writes it. But the kind of jobs we need are self sustaining, profitable jobs. Capeesh?

    December 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      Instead of pipelining oil from Canada why don't we pipeline oil from South Dakota? There is a huge oil find in SD and we would be supporting American business instead of Canadian. The Congress is pushing Keystone because they are getting paid off to do so. The Canadians will be the big winners not us. Most of the jobs created will be temporary at best and the number of jobs will be much less than they project.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt in Atl

      You do know that the pipeline is for exporting canadian oil to china via the gulf, right? It's not for US domestic consumption. We already get more oil from Canada than the middle east. It's sort of like me being forced to grant an easment through my kitchen to my neighbor on the left so he can get to the neighbor on the right's house more quickly. Sure, he's going to bring me a beer the FIRST time, but after I sign the easment rights away, I'm not going to get anything other than shoes tracking oil... er, I mean mud.. through my house.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • notatall

      We import most of our oil from Canada now: not the middle east. They want the new pipeline to bring in a "dirtier" type of oil that causes more environmental damage and costs more to "refine". Plus, who pays for the pipeline; who owns the property it goes through; who maintains it and what happens if it leaks? Also, the route is not the best thought out and the people at the greatest risk should have a say. Besides, US oil companies are now making more gasoline than they can sell in the US, so they have started exporting it.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • BinFL

      Sorry, but I really think you don't live in the real world if you truly think the oil from that pipeline will stay in the US for our consumption. This is just another grab for the Repubs BIG OIL cronies. Apparently you didn't see the report that we are now exporting more oil than ever. If we need it here so badly then why are we exporting it? If the Repubs are so concerned about creating jobs then they should have passed the President's jobs bill. Attaching the pipeline to the payroll tax bill is just pure political posturing and you know it!

      December 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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