McConnell: House should pass short-term payroll tax cut extension
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday called on House Republicans to pass a short-term deal to extend the payroll tax cut while talks continue over how to pay for a year-long cut.
In his first statement on the issue since Sunday, McConnell (R-Ky.) urged his counterparts in the House to pass an extension to prevent “any disruption the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions, and allows Congress to work on a solution for the longer extensions.”
McConnell also asked Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to appoint conferees to start negotiations with the House.
House Republicans “certainly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms,” McConnell said. “These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both.”
McConnell’s statement appears designed to give Republicans an escape route from a standoff that has become politically untenable for the GOP. He did not specify the length of the extension that the House should approve.
The Senate on Saturday passed a deal to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, which would also extend unemployment benefits and avert a cut in the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Failure to renew the payroll tax holiday would hit roughly 160 million Americans in their pocketbooks next year, costing the average worker about $1,000. Republicans have said a temporary extension would burden small business owners.
But one top House Republican suggested on CNBC Thursday that a three-month extension might work.