Business, Finance & Economics

House Republicans reject two month payroll tax cut


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid holds a news conference about the payroll tax cut. The House Republicans have rejected the measure, opting for a conference with the Senate instead.


Chip Somodevilla

The House Republicans disapproved a Senate bill on Tuesday that would have temporarily extended a payroll cut and unemployment benefits for 160 million workers for two months, opting instead to meet with the Senate to discuss the bill, the Washington Post reported

“Our members do not want to just punt and do a two-month, short-term fix where we have to come back and do this again,” House Speaker John Boehner said Monday night, the Post reported.

The House cast aside the Senate bill on a vote of 229 to 193, which set up a face-off with the Senate and President Obama, who has demanded that the House approve the plan in order to avoid a tax hike in the new year. By opting not to vote on the actual Senate legislation, House Republicans are, in theory, making it harder for Democrats to target them for voting "no" on a payroll tax cut bill, CBS News reported

The Senate has adjourned until January 23, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will not bring them back for a conference on the bill. He warned on Monday that House Republicans would be held responsible by Democrats for any January 1st tax increases. 

More from GlobalPost: Senate passes payroll tax extension

Obama made a statement after the vote urging House Republicans to “do the right thing” and “put politics aside” to vote on the Senate bill, the Post reported. 

“Let’s not play brinkmanship. The American people are weary of it. They’re tired of it,” Obama said. “I’m calling on the speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote.”

Whether or not any House lawmakers will be allowed to leave town for the holidays remains unclear. Senator Chuck Schumer said that Democrats will hold their ground on the matter and hope that Republicans cave, CBS News reported.

"Pressure every day is mounting on Republicans," Schumer said in an appearance on MSNBC. "All you have to do is let the pressure mount, day in and day out, and they will come back and support the two month. Not a majority of Republicans, but enough Republicans added to the Democrats to pass the bill by a large majority. In a few days, they will fold."

House Minority Leader Eric Cantor said that the Senate should return to Washington to negotiate a deal, CBS News reported. 

“Families, employers and workers can’t live their lives month to month,” Cantor said. “Washington needs to stop adding confusion and more uncertainty to people’s lives.”