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House Skips Town as Tax Deadline Looms (Politico)

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Taxes are set to go up on 160 million Americans in a few weeks. But there’s little sign of urgency — let alone progress — coming out of Washington. Congress will be out of session for a week beginning Feb. 20 — just a few days before the tax cut is slated to expire. The general consensus is that next week needs to yield an agreement. But both Republicans and Democrats seem uninterested in building a bipartisan package that can pass in both House and Senate. GOP party members, pushing for more qualified handouts of unemployment insurance and refusing to accept higher tax rates for the wealthy, say that Democrats haven’t outlined sufficient funding for any of their requests — among them, an extension of the 2% payroll tax cut. With both parties refusing to budge, it’s looking unlikely that the parties will come to a consensus before the end-of-month deadline.