The payroll-tax cut stalemate

What was the problem passing the payroll-tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans ("The pressure is on House GOP," Thursday)?

The House, with its Republican majority, at first wouldn't pass the Senate plan, which would have covered the cost of the cut by raising taxes on those making a million or more a year. The Senate didn't pass the House plan, which would have allowed the tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits, along with the XL Keystone pipeline. The pipeline would run over the largest aquifer in North America and cause much pollution from the refining process. Yes, some jobs would be created for the short term, but much of the oil is scheduled to go overseas so it won't make us less dependent on foreign oil.

Putting a tax cut and a pipeline in one bill didn't make much sense, unless there was a lot of money to be made.

Elinor I. Naylor, North Wales

GOP wants full year of tax cuts

Tony Auth's cartoon showing a collection of Republican Scrooges declaring "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" - apparently because of their opposition to extending payroll-tax relief for 60 days - plumbs new depths of mindlessness and political bias.

Pete Isberg, president of the politically neutral nonprofit National Payroll Reporting Consortium, says that many payroll systems, especially those of small businesses, would be thrown into such confusion by the short-term extension, and likely would be unable to make the necessary changes until after the 60 days has expired. "It's going to be a nightmare and a mess," Isberg has said. "This whole thing is bogus. It can't be implemented as is. It's a train wreck waiting to happen."

The Republicans wanted to continue the tax relief for a year, not 60 days, putting, as President Obama says, an extra $1,000 in the average worker's pocket to spend to help grow the economy. Sixty days would yield a paltry $167.

Nick O'Dell, Phoenixville,

A rolling stone gathers no tax cut

This quote from the great 20th-century British philosopher Mick Jagger goes out to members of Congress, especially the so-called tea party members: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."

Donald A. Simon, Philadelphia,

Distorting House GOP vote

Wouldn't the headline on Wednesday's front page, "House GOP rejects tax cut" have been more correct to say, "GOP turns down ridiculous two-month tax deal in favor of realistic one-year plan"? Of course it would have, but then you wouldn't be able to again distort the truth in your never-ending mission to smear Republicans, tea partyers, and conservatives! People with intelligence can read between the lines, especially when we can turn on the cable TV channels and hear more accurate reporting.

Jack Yerkes, Sewell

Boehner right on one-year extension

I never thought I would agree with House Speaker John Boehner but I do. The two-month extension of the tax cut and unemployment benefits was passed so senators could go home and not hear people screaming at them because taxes went up. A one-year extension is the more practical way to do the bill. An increase of Medicare payments on people making more than $80,000 a year is reasonable.

Ronald Costello, Warminster,

A pledge to protect the wealthy

It appears that the pledges to never raise taxes, made by House Republicans to Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, and his ilk, apply only to taxes on the wealthy and the closing of corporate tax loopholes.

Harry Tischler, Philadelphia