Budget Deal on Hold 

Posted: 10:18 pm Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

By Jamie Dupree

The deal has been cut. Both sides have shaken hands. Both parties have agreed on all the details. The text of the bill is all finished. Republicans were ready to post the bill on the internet and bring it up for approval on the House floor.

But now a year-end ominbus budget bill is on hold in the Congress, as Democrats are refusing to move ahead with an agreement to wrap up spending work for the rest of this fiscal year until there is a deal on a payroll tax cut extension.

“After six months of trying to blame Republicans for wanting to shut down the government, they’re the ones that won’t sign the conference report to keep the government open,” said a frustrated Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), as both sides blamed the other for the unexpected spending impasse.

“There are still issues to resolve,” maintained White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Despite what you’ve heard, there are still issues to resolve.”

But back at the Capitol, Republicans said that was just wasn’t the case, as they argued that Democrats suddenly decided not to move forward on the year-end package of budget bills in a bid to gain some leverage on the GOP in the late year maneuvering that’s going on right now in the Congress.

The plan had been to file the final report for the spending bill deal on Monday night, allowing for a vote in the House on Wednesday; but at the last minute, Democrats balked.

Basically, the White House wants to force Republicans to cut a deal on the payroll tax cut extension before agreeing to move the spending bill deal – which could mean lawmakers will have to approve another stop gap budget to keep the government running after this Friday.

White House officials were trying to make the argument – which didn’t seem to have much basis in fact – that Republicans might just approve the spending bills and then run out of town without addressing the payroll tax cut extension and more.

So, with no deal on the payroll tax, there’s no action on the budget front.

Just another messy end to a Congressional session.