House GOP loses another ally in tax fight

When the Senate voted over the weekend on its bipartisan payroll-tax-cut compromise, it passed 89 to 10. One of the 10 was Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee.

Corker’s concerns had nothing to do with procedures or timetables; he simply doesn’t want there to be a payroll tax break. He’s heard the warnings about the economic impacts, and he knows it would shrink the paychecks of 160 million Americans, but Corker thinks it’s a bad idea anyway.

It’s noteworthy, then, that Corker has decided it’s time for his party to give in and move on.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday that Republicans are losing the public relations battle over a payroll tax cut extension and should find a way to extend the tax holiday and move on.

“Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion? There’s no question,” Corker said Wednesday on CNBC.

“Both Republicans and Democrats have agreed that this is going to happen and probably the best thing to happen now is just to get it over with — one more policy blunder — but just get it over with and move on because now it’s been framed as a tax increase which it’s not,” he said.

John McCain thinks the fight is hurting the Republican Party. The Wall Street Journal editorial board is mocking House Republicans for “managing to lose the tax issue” to President Obama. At least a dozen GOP lawmakers sided yesterday with Democrats on what has to happen now. And now today, one of the leading conservative senators who agrees with House Republicans has said it’s time for the GOP to bite the bullet and pass the damn extension.

Time will tell how this will (or won’t) work out over the next 10 days, but if Republicans think they’re winning, they’re not paying close enough attention.

Update: Apparently under pressure for saying what he actually believes, Corker was forced to reverse course just hours after the interview.