This week’s deal to extend the payroll tax cut was seen as something of a political liability for Speaker of the House John Boehner, and some on Capitol Hill believe it has put his leadership post in jeopardy.
New York Times columnist David Brooks admitted that was the case on Friday’s “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio. According to Brooks, the payroll tax extension comprise isn’t something he thinks policymakers should be proud of doing, but it does expose some vulnerabilities.
“First, I’m not sure we should be incredibly proud of ourselves for stealing money from our grandchildren to pay ourselves money in the short term,” Brooks said. “So I’m not sure it’s a great policy victory. But it is nonetheless true that Speaker Boehner — you begin to hear talk around Washington, will he be speaker next time?”
Brooks explained that he’s not in immediate danger of losing his speakership. However he said going into the next Congress, that’s where he is vulnerable since his caucus is not looking for a “dealmaker” leader.
“I happen to think he’s going to last this out — he’s a pro,” Brooks said. “He’s respectable. But, I’m more establishmentarian than most House Republicans. I happen to think he’s a very good dealmaker. He just happens to be leading a caucus that doesn’t like deals that often get done in Washington.”
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Brooks’ NPR co-panelist Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne said it wasn’t even necessarily the Republican freshman class, but instead some of the older caucus members tilting more conservative.
“The problem is – he is a rather good dealmaker with a caucus that doesn’t want him to make deals,” Dionne said. “And the opposition – the emphasis has been on the freshman. But there are a lot of longer serving people on the right end of that caucus that may be causing him even more trouble than the freshman. Some of the freshman were very realistic and said, ‘Please get us out of this. We don’t want to be responsible for a tax increase.’”