House To Reject Temporary Extenstion Of Payroll Tax Cut

Speaker John Boehner said today on Meet The Press that the House will not be able to accept the temporary extension of the payroll tax cut that the Senate passed on Friday:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that House Republicans oppose the Senate bill to extend for two months the payroll tax holiday and other measures, setting up a major legislative clash a week before Christmas.

A day after the Senate approved a hard-fought compromise and then adjourned for the year, the Speaker made clear in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that House Republicans will put forward their own bill instead. The House is set to reconvene Monday and could vote on the Senate bill and a House counterproposal by Tuesday.

“It’s pretty clear that I and our Members oppose the Senate bill,” Boehner said. “How can you do tax policy for two months? We believe it’s time for the Senate to work with the House to complete our business for the year.”

Boehner suggested the House and Senate could resolve their differences in a Conference Committee if the Senate declines to support the path forward favored by House Republicans. The legislation involves an extension of the payroll tax holiday, set to expire Dec. 31; continuing unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless; and stopping a scheduled pay cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have dueled over how to pay for the payroll tax holiday and proposed GOP reforms to the unemployment insurance program. Republicans and President Barack Obama have been at odds over whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a decision the president postponed until after the 2012 elections.

In the Senate, Democrats and Republicans reached a deal to extend all benefits for two months while forcing Obama to either approve or reject the Keystone pipeline at the end of the same period. They voted Saturday morning and then left town until Jan. 23. But House Republicans, meeting via conference call later in the day, voiced opposition to the Senate bill, potentially setting up a major clash.

“I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road,” Boehner said. “It’s time to just stop, do our work, resolve our differences and extend this for one year.”

As I noted in my post about this yesterday, Boehner does have a point here. Pushing this out to February 29th as the Senate did really doesn’t accomplish much of anything, especially since the House had already passed a bill that extended the tax cut for the entire year. Instead of sending the matter to a Conference Committee, as had been the procedure in Washington up until a few years ago it seems, Harry Reid killed the House bill and proceeded to “negotiate a compromise” without bothering to determine if the House GOP would go along with it. That’s pretty dumb if you ask me.

If this bears out, the Senate is going to have to come back into session to deal with whatever the House ends up passing. I’m sure there will be much grousing from Senators actually being required to do their jobs.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Personally, my favorite part is that Fox News is outraged (outraged!) that the Senate version pays for the payroll tax credit by increasing fees on loans from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Senators stated that one reason this method was chosen was to make borrowers go to private banks instead of relying on government backed loans.

    Yes, Fox News is outraged that the Senate is trying to incrementally reduce the scope of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which conservative orthodoxy treats as two of the lesser Satans.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    If Mr. Obama was Bill Clinton he’d beat the Republicans bloody with this.

  3. If Obama was Bill Clinton, he wouldn’t have ceded control of his legislative agenda from Day One.

  4. Hey Norm says:

    If Obama was Clinton this Republican House would have already begun pointless impeachment proceedings.
    Shorter Boehner: it’s our way or no way.
    Shorter Doug: I don’t like Obama.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    @ MR…
    Why should Obama bother when Republicans insist on bludgeoning themselves with it?

  6. lunaticllama says:

    It’s clear: Republicans want to raise taxes on the middle class, so they can give more free money to rich people and corporations.

  7. Gustopher says:

    If Obama was Bill Clinton, he would have been ineligible to serve as President because of the 22nd Amendment, rather than ineligible to serve because of that whole born-in-Kenya thing.

    But, if Obama were some kind of horrible space monster (who was born in Hawaii from horrible space monster tourists), he would have literally bitten off the heads of the Republican opposition, laid eggs on their neck stumps, and controlled their corpses to enact his legislative agenda.

    Alas, we have the Obama we have, rather than the Obama we wish we had.

  8. Hey Norm says:

    Not mentioned in Doug’s post, but appearing in actual journalism, is that Boehner originally supported the deal…but could not deliver his caucus. Shades of the fake debt ceiling crisis.

  9. This isn’t the 19th Century where a Speaker can force his members to vote the way he wants. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t it more democratic for members to vote their own conscience rather than the way their party leaders tell them to vote?

  10. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I’m inclined to agree with you but that said I think John Cole sums it up best.

    One of the untold stories of the past two years is how Boehner has had no control of the clown car caucus that is the GOP. Cantor has been undercutting him and screwing him from the get-go. Boehner is speaker in name only.

    It really does appear that Boehner has no power at all.

  11. anjin-san says:

    It’s pretty simple. The GOP wants tax cuts for high net worth individuals and corporations. The peons are on their own. The question is how long will the GOP rank and file keep taking it up the ass and then saying “thank you sir, can I have another”?

  12. Hello World! says:

    Actually, this is all a big show. I have it from very reliable sources that all the republicans are heading back to DC between now and Monday night. It will pass Tuesday morning, and this is why I can’t support the dems. They gave away the oils sands and a bund of other cards. They are idiots.

  13. @anjin-san: The GOP base will always bend over as occassionally their betters remember to lube up.

  14. bandit says:

    Nobodies interested in your homosexual fantasies

  15. Hey Norm says:

    “…Nobodies interested in your homosexual fantasies…”

    Sez the sled dog…who spends all day sniffing the lead dogs arse.

  16. Hey Norm says:

    Doug’s world:

    “…Harry Reid killed the House bill and proceeded to “negotiate a compromise” without bothering to determine if the House GOP would go along with it. That’s pretty dumb if you ask me…”

    Except Reid had buy-in from House GOP Leadership…until Boehner couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain…again.

    “…Isn’t it more democratic for members to vote their own conscience rather than the way their party leaders tell them to vote…”

    So forced to face facts…Doug backpedals. Fair enough I suppose.
    But there’s still the blind emotional hate to deal with:

    “…he wouldn’t have ceded control of his legislative agenda from Day One…”

    Given the long list of Legislative accomplishments over the last three years I have no idea what you are talking about. But specific to this issue…and given the above…why in the world, after a year of watching the Tea Bag Caucus in operation, would Obama allow himself to be dragged down into their mudhole? Obama plays 3-D chess. The Tea Baggers struggle with checkers.