House Approves Senate Payroll Tax Cut Extension
As expected, the House quickly approved the two-month extension of the Payroll Tax Cut in a pro forma session this morning presided over by Speaker Boehner himself:
The House on Friday morning approved a bill extending the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance for two months, and also prevents a planned cut to reimbursements for Medicare physicians.
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) asked for unanimous consent, which was declared approved by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The bill is H.R. 3765.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who tried unsuccessfully to force a vote on the Senate bill earlier in the week, spoke briefly before the bill was accepted to thank Republicans for finally agreeing to the extension.
“I know that the American people are pleased that we have come together to agree on this extension to give certainty and peace of mind to 160 million Americans who are concerned about losing their tax cut, the 48 million seniors who are concerned about their Medicare, and the 2.3 million people who are unemployed and seeking work who are fearful of losing their benefits,” Hoyer said.
“I thank the Speaker, and I thank the gentlelady from Missouri,” he said.
The quick House passage capped a disastrous public relations week for House Republican leaders, who initially signaled support for the two-month extension agreed to in the Senate, then changed their minds after rank-and-file members said they opposed what could be a complicated patch for employers.
For procedural reasons, the Senate needed to reapprove the bill before the House could vote, and that happened in a brief session before the House convened. The bill now goes to the President, who will likely sign it today before heading out of town for the holidays.