House passes payroll tax extension, Senate leader calls it 'dead on arrival'
Congressional Republicans and Democrats are haggling over legislation that would extend unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut past Dec. 31. Republicans passed a bill Tuesday night, but Democrats say all of the bill's extra inclusions, as well as its funding, make it impossible to endorse.
The House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday night that would extend the payroll tax cuts and prolong unemployment benefits beyond Dec. 31.
But the bill, endorsed 234-193, also included a provision to move along the Keystone XL Pipeline — a plan not at all popular with Democrats, who are also unhappy with how Republicans plan to pay for the legislation. All that amounts to the House bill probably not standing a chance of passing the senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the bill "dead on arrival."
"The House now feels they've done their job," said Todd Zwillich, Takeaway Washington correspondent.
Republican Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, showed just what sort of politics are involved with this bill, challenging Reid to reject a bill that includes an average of about $1200 in tax cuts for every American family.
"It will make sure we get back on the path to job creation," Cantor said. "It's time for the rhetoric coming from the Senate Democrats and the administration to match the reality."
But Democrats aren't ready to capitulate. He said the bill was a pointless, partisan maneuver.
Zwillich said the problem for Reid becomes the search for 60 votes. It's not clear what package that Reid can put together would draw enough Republican support to get over the 60 vote threshhold to send something back to the House.
"It's also connected to a big government spending bill and these both have to get done," Zwillich said. "It's hard to know where these things are going."
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