House Set to Vote Down Payroll Tax Cut Extension
Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that the House would reject a Senate plan for a two-month extension of payroll tax relief and unemployment benefits, and called on Congress to work through the holidays if necessary to find agreement on longer-term legislation.
But Senate Democratic leaders said they had no immediate plans to call the Senate back to work out a deal with the House, leaving the fate of the legislation, which would also prevent a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors, unclear.
At the same time, tensions increased between the Senate, which overwhelmingly approved the two-month extension on Saturday, and the House. Senator Scott Brown, a Republican facing re-election in Massachusetts, called his Republican colleagues in the House “irresponsible and wrong” for rejecting the Senate bill.
“The refusal to compromise now threatens to increase taxes on hard-working Americans and stop unemployment benefits for those out of work,” Mr. Brown said in a statement Monday. “During this time of divided government, both parties need to be reasonable and come to the negotiating table in good faith. We cannot allow rigid partisan ideology and unwillingness to compromise stand in the way of working together for the good of the American people.”
But Mr. Boehner told reporters that House Republicans were intent on pursuing a one-year continuation of the tax break.”Americans are tired of Washington’s short-term fixes and gimmicks, which are creating uncertainty for job creators at a time when millions of Americans are out of work,” Mr. Boehner said Monday. “Democrats and Republicans agree that the payroll tax cut needs to be extended for a full year to provide the kind of relief that Americans need in this struggling economy.”
By a vote of 89 to 10, the Senate on Saturday passed the bill dealing with payroll taxes, jobless benefits and Medicare for two months.
“We oppose the Senate bill because doing a two-month extension instead of a full-year extension causes uncertainty for job creators,” Mr. Boehner said. “The idea that tax policy can be done two months at a time is the kind of activity we see here in Washington that has put our economy off its tracks.”
But Senate Democrats appeared to be digging in against restarting negotiations until the House accepted the two-month extension to assure that the payroll taxes do not revert to a higher level at the beginning of the year.