WASHINGTON -- Democrats emboldened by the belief that they are winning the debate on cutting payroll taxes -- an opinion echoed this week by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- are rolling out a string of robocalls in 10 House districts to capitalize on the advantage.
The spots pick up on Democratic leaders' vow to not go on Christmas vacation until this year's 2 percent payroll tax cut is extended through 2012.
"Did you know that Congressman Mike Coffman is trying to leave town for the holidays without extending your payroll tax cut? That means 2.5 million middle class folks in Colorado will get a $1,000 tax increase," says a sample of the call sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The other lawmakers targeted are Reps. Quico Canseco (R-Texas), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), and Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.).
Republican leaders have not said whether or not they will stick around to get the extension passed, and the parties differ widely in how it should be paid for. Democrats want to levy a 1.9 percent surtax on income in excess of $1 million. Republicans want to cut the federal work force, and are proposing other cuts, including some adamantly opposed by Democrats.
"House Republicans are willing to leave for the holidays and force a $1,000 payroll tax increase on 160 million middle class Americans, while fighting for billionaires and big oil," the call script continues, before directing people to complain to their representative.
"House Republicans went home this weekend to put their feet up on the coffee table, but what they're really doing is kicking the middle class in the stomach," said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel. "It will be harder for 160 million middle-income families to pay for gas, groceries and other critical expenses and nearly 1 million Americans could lose their jobs if House Republicans leave Washington for their holiday vacation without stopping this tax increase."
UPDATE: 4:46 p.m. -- NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay responded to the ad, saying, "I guess that ad genius Steve Israel is saying that his party will oppose the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act on the floor next week that will prevent a tax hike and create jobs. Not only does this put House Democrats at odds with organized labor groups that support the Keystone XL pipeline, it puts them at odds with every middle-class family that will see their taxes go up as a result."
Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Find him on Facebook.