House Republicans Postpone Payroll Tax Vote

by Andrew Stiles

Following a closed-door meeting with rank-and-file members Monday night, House Republican leaders have decided to postpone a scheduled vote on a Senate-passed extension of the payroll-tax holiday. House Republicans oppose the Senate measure, which would extend the tax cut for 60 days, and have already passed legislation to extend the tax cut for a full year. “[The Senate] did their job, they produced a bill” said House Speaker John Boehner. “The House disagrees with it.”

Following the meeting, Boehner told reporters that the House will appoint a conference panel that will work with Senate appointees to iron out the differences between the competing bills. Members will cast votes on Tuesday to reject the Senate bill and instruct conference appointees.

But what happens next is anyone’s guess. Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he would not negotiate with House Republicans until they passed the Senate’s short-term extension.

GOP leaders, however, seized on the concerns expressed by a number of trade organizations that a two-month extension was too short to be implemented effectively. President Obama has also expressed his desire to see the tax cut extended for a full year, and, for once, House Republicans say they intend to give him what he wants. “We believe this is the right thing for the country,” Boehner said. “We’re willing to stay here to get the job done.”

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said the reason for the decision to delay the vote until tomorrow was because “we didn’t like the idea of doing things in the dead of the night; these [votes] will take place tomorrow in the light of day.”

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