Though he no longer has to worry about his re-election, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) isn't moderating his views. The Arizona Republican, who is retiring from office in 2012, said on Sunday that he would oppose an extension of the payroll tax cut, which is set to expire at the end of this year.
"The payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. We do not think that is a great way to do it," Kyl said on "Fox News Sunday."
"The payroll tax doesn't go into general revenue. It supports Social Security," he said. "You can't keep extending the payroll tax holiday and have a secure Social Security."
The payroll tax extension would put an estimated $1,000 in the pockets of middle class families and is expected to be the first legislative item considered once Congress returns from Thanksgiving break.
While Kyl may have managed to muster up some opportunist concern over the long-term solvency of Social Security, there are some progressives who are wary that extending the payroll tax cut could deplete funds for the entitlement program. By and large, however, the policy is not a controversial one. Kyl's colleague on the congressional supercommittee, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), offered his support.
"I think that probably some package of that with other features might very well pass," Toomey told ABC's "This Week."
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain also said he could back a payroll tax cut extension during an interview Sunday with CNN's "State of the Union." Meanwhile, anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, appearing on "Meet The Press," said he would back another extension while also suggesting that he'd be comfortable with it ending because the cut was initially passed as a temporary measure.
"I'm not opposed to extending the payroll tax particularly," Norquist said. "I think it's destructive to extend it and raise some other tax the same dollar amount... But the other piece to this is the reason why people view the one-year tax holiday that Obama put in a year ago as a temporary tax increase was that President Obama said it was going to be temporary when he put it in. When the Republicans in the House and Senate passed the '01 and '03 tax cuts, those were, as their advocates said, intended to be permanent. They weren't for reasons of Democratic filibusters. But they were always intended to be permanent tax reductions. Obama was the guy who said that this was a tax holiday. Calling it a tax holiday kind of suggests they viewed it as temporary. Holidays aren't permanent."