What the House GOP conferees have in common

Now that House Republicans have rejected the Senate’s bipartisan compromise on a payroll tax-break extension, the next step, apparently, is moving forward with the conference-committee charade. It’s a joke intended to fail, but House GOP leaders have begun going through the motions.

To that end, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this afternoon he’s chosen eight House Republicans to work on negotiations — which probably won’t occur — with the Senate. The DCCC noted that most of them have already announced their opposition to extending the payroll tax cut at all.

Rep. Dave Camp (MI-04). “I’m not in favor of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” [The Hill, 8/14/11]

Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08): “I am not as big a fan of the payroll tax cuts…” [Bloomberg News, 12/14/11]

Rep. Tom Price (GA-06): “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” [NPR, 9/8/11]

Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-02): “it’s not the answer … these tiny little feel good measures. We don’t need more gimmicks.” [CNN, 11/30/11]

The DCCC actually missed one: Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) was also named to the conference committee, and just two weeks ago, he falsely claimed the payroll tax break is a “threat to Social Security.”

Why would the House GOP leadership choose conferees to work on the details of a tax cut who already oppose that tax cut? They wouldn’t unless the point was to set up the committee to fail.

In fact, it’s worth appreciating one of the great oddities of the last few days. House Republicans, from the leadership down, spent most of yesterday and today saying they really do love the payroll tax break and are eager to keep it going, but they don’t like the temporary nature of the Senate compromise. House Republicans aren’t for a middle-class tax increase that takes effect in January, they’ve said; they want a year-long extension.

To believe this, one would have to completely discount several months of rhetoric from these very same politicians, many of whom have spent months insisting that they reject the very idea of a payroll tax break.

Do these folks seriously expect anyone to believe their rhetoric, pretending to support a policy they’ve already argued against? Do they realize we have access to Google?