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Boehner Urges House to Scuttle Payroll Tax Cut Deal

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A bipartisan negotiated two-month extension of payroll tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits, passed by the Senate on Saturday, looks doomed to fail if House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, follows through with his insistence that the House vote it down late Monday.

Boehner favors a new move for a one-year bill. Boehner, who said in a Bloomberg report that he was “tired” of “kicking the can down the road,” is determined to push for a one-year extension of the tax cut instead. Senate negotiators were unable to agree on how to pay for a one-year extension, and approved the two-month bill instead in a vote of 89-10.

While some Republicans in the House voiced surprise that a better deal wasn’t produced in the Senate, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., in a New York Times report, called House Republicans’ action “irresponsible and wrong,” adding in a statement, “The refusal to compromise now threatens to increase taxes on hard-working Americans and stop unemployment benefits for those out of work. 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.”

The Huffington Post reported that on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement that when he met with Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last week on the matter, “Speaker Boehner requested that Sen. McConnell and I work out a compromise.” Boehner denied that, although some of the Republican opposition to the deal appears to come from Boehner’s decision to allow the Senate to come up with the bill.

The Senate has already recessed for the year, and Reid said of Boehner’s determination to instead come up with a one-year extension at the eleventh hour, “I will not reopen negotiations until the House follows through and passes this agreement that was negotiated by Republican leaders and supported by 90% of the Senate. This is a question of whether the House of Representatives will be able to fulfill the basic legislative function of passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan agreement, in order to protect the economic security of millions of middle-class Americans.”


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