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Payroll tax break: Boehner wants one year; Senate two months

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WASHINGTON--House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants Congress to pass a one-year renewal on the Social Security payroll tax hike and was critical of the Senate bill that punted with just a two month extension.

What will likely happen is the House will pass its version Monday night then go to conference with the Senate to try to hammer out the differences. Time is an issue; the Senators have gone home for winter break and the tax break expires on Dec. 31.

The Senate two-month fixed passed on an 89-10 vote Saturday. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voted against extending the tax cut and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) voted for it. (post on Kirk vote is HERE)

At a Monday morning press conference, Boehner said, "Americans are tired of Washington's short-term fixes and gimmicks, which are creating uncertainty for job creators at a time when millions of Americans are out of work. Democrats and Republicans agree that the payroll tax cut needs to be extended for a full year. And to provide the kind of relief that Americans need in this struggling economy, the House last week passed a bill to do just that.

"But instead of passing the House bill or another bill which extended the payroll tax credit for a year, the Senate Democratic leaders passed a two-month extension of punting the problem into next year. We opposed the Senate bill because doing a two-month extension instead of a full-year extension causes uncertainty for job creators.

"I used to run a small business. I met a payroll. I hired workers. A two-month extension creates uncertainty, and will cause problems for people who are trying to create jobs in the private sector.

"The idea that tax policy can be done two months at a time is the kind of activity we see here in Washington that's really put our economy off of its tracks. Last week both chambers worked together to pass a full-year bill to fund our government, and I don't think this issue is any different. It's time to -- for Congress to do its work. No more kicking the can down the road.

"Tonight the House will vote on the Senate-passed bill. This is a vote on whether Congress will stay and do its work or go on vacation. I expect that the House will disagree with the Senate amendment and instead vote to formally go to conference, the formal process in which the House and Senate can resolve differences between the two chambers and between our two bills. And I expect the House to take up legislation that reinforces the need to extend the payroll tax relief for a full year rather than just two months, again to provide certainty for job creators.

"And I think the best way to resolve the difference between the two-month extension and a full-year bill is to follow the regular order here in Congress. When there's a disagreement between the two chambers, we sit down at a conference and resolve those differences. And that's exactly what I believe the House will do.

"The president has said repeatedly that no one should be going on vacation until the work is done. Democrat leaders in the House and Senate have said exactly the same thing. So I think it's time for the Senate Democrat leaders to follow the president's example, put their vacations on hold and work in a bipartisan manner to finish the nation's business."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 19, 2011 10:37 AM.

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