CommunityFDL Main Blog

House Rejects Senate Payroll Tax Deal

Speaker Boehner complains Congress won't approve payroll tax cut extension his troops oppose (photo: Speaker Boehner)

The House of Representatives officially rejected the bipartisan agreement that passed the Senate with 89 votes for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, extended unemployment benefits and a doctor’s fix to prevent a 27% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates. They did so under a complicated scheme whereby members did not vote on the Senate deal itself, but on whether to move to a conference committee on the package, with the rejection of the Senate deal implicit in the exchange. The final roll call was 229-193, with seven Republicans switching sides and voting with Democrats to reject the conference committee. All Democrats present voted against the bill.

It’s unclear where this leaves things, especially after Harry Reid announced he wouldn’t play along with Boehner’s scheme, but the procedure which House Republicans used does allow for a fallback. Because they did not actually vote down the Senate’s payroll tax deal, they reserve the right to come back to it and pass it later, if the pressure rises and Democrats stay home, refusing to go into conference until the two-month extension passes.

But for now, we’re in an uncertain period which will feature lots of both sides shouting at one another. And Republicans may up and go home after today, which means that nobody will even be in Washington to negotiate a final deal, even after the House called for a conference committee for just such a negotiation.

UPDATE: The seven Republican no votes: Charlie Bass (NH), Jeff Flake (AZ), Chris Gibson (NY), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Tim Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), Frank Wolf (VA).

CommunityThe Bullpen

House Rejects Senate Payroll Tax Deal

The House of Representatives officially rejected the bipartisan agreement that passed the Senate with 89 votes for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, extended unemployment benefits and a doctor’s fix to prevent a 27% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates. They did so under a complicated scheme whereby members did not vote on the Senate deal itself, but on whether to move to a conference committee on the package, with the rejection of the Senate deal implicit in the exchange. The final roll call was 229-193, with seven Republicans switching sides and voting with Democrats to reject the conference committee. All Democrats present voted against the bill.

It’s unclear where this leaves things, especially after Harry Reid announced he wouldn’t play along with Boehner’s scheme, but the procedure which House Republicans used does allow for a fallback. Because they did not actually vote down the Senate’s payroll tax deal, they reserve the right to come back to it and pass it later, if the pressure rises and Democrats stay home, refusing to go into conference until the two-month extension passes.

But for now, we’re in an uncertain period which will feature lots of both sides shouting at one another. And Republicans may up and go home after today, which means that nobody will even be in Washington to negotiate a final deal, even after the House called for a conference committee for just such a negotiation.

UPDATE: The seven Republican no votes: Charlie Bass (NH), Jeff Flake (AZ), Chris Gibson (NY), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Tim Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), Frank Wolf (VA).

UPDATE II: Harry Reid’s reaction to this shows no sign of letting up:

It is unconscionable that Speaker Boehner is blocking a bipartisan compromise that would protect middle-class families from the tax hike looming on January 1st – a compromise that Senator McConnell and I negotiated at Speaker Boehner’s own request. First Senator McConnell would not let the Senate vote on the House’s payroll tax cut bill because he knew it would fail, now Speaker Boehner won’t let the House hold an up-or-down vote on the Senate’s bipartisan compromise because he knows it would pass.

As the clock ticks towards a middle-class tax hike, I would implore Speaker Boehner to listen to the sensible Senate Republicans and courageous House Republicans who are calling on him take the responsible path, and pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise to hold middle class families harmless while we negotiate a yearlong extension. I have been trying to negotiate a yearlong extension with Republicans for weeks, and I am happy to continue doing so as soon as the House of Representatives passes the bipartisan compromise to protect middle-class families, but not before then.

Previous post

List of Active Occupy Encampments Across the Country - Now at 61

Next post

Politifact Disgraces Themselves with "Lie of the Year" Award

David Dayen

David Dayen