House Republicans faced mounting pressure Wednesday from critics inside and outside Congress who worry that their standoff with President Obama over whether to extend a payroll tax cut could do lasting damage to the GOP.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who is seeking the party’s presidential nomination, warned that the showdown could end badly for Republicans, citing his own experience in losing the political battle to President Bill Clinton during the 1996 government shutdown.
“Incumbent presidents have enormous advantages. And I think what Republicans ought to do is what’s right for America. They ought to do it calmly and pleasantly and happily,” Gingrich said.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board captured the frustration among Republicans in the paper’s Wednesday editions, asking whether the GOP’s handling of the tax debate “might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the House GOP must get past the issue.
“Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion? There’s no question,” he 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.”