by Sam Stein at Huffington Post
First Posted: 12/20/11 10:33 AM ET Updated: 12/20/11 10:35 AM ET
WASHINGTON — House Republican leadership is poised to reject a Senate-passed two-month payroll tax extension on Tuesday afternoon, pushing negotiations onto a committee of lawmakers from both chambers.
But if Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pinning his hopes for an 11th hour payroll tax cut deal on a conference committee, he is basically alone. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will not appoint conferees, his office stressed again to The Huffington Post on Tuesday morning.
“[There will be] no negotiations until Boehner follows through and passes the compromise that Senators Reid and McConnell negotiated at his request, and which received 90 percent support in the Senate,” said a Senate Democratic leadership aide. “It’s shameful that he won’t even give it an up or down vote. Hopefully fellow Republicans can prevail upon their wayward colleagues in the House.”
Asked specifically if that mean Reid wouldn’t appoint conferees, the aide said Reid would not.
By declining to participate in a conference committee that would, ostensibly, hammer out the significant disagreements between the House and Senate versions of a payroll tax cut extension, Reid is effectively making Boehner’s latest move moot. If only one side will appoint negotiators, why start a negotiating process?
The version of the payroll tax cut passed by the House would last one year and is paid for by spending cuts, hiked fees on Fannie and Freddie and extending federal staff pay freezes for another year; the Senate-passed version would last two-months and is paid for with those same fees on the government-backed mortgage giants.
Even though Democratic leadership first announced plans to block committee negotiations on Monday morning, Boehner’s office has shown little willingness to deviate from its course.
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- PAYROLL TAX CUT SHOWDOWN: Reid Says No Negotiations Until House Passes Senate Bill (businessinsider.com)
- Harry Reid to GOP: A Deal Is a Deal, Now Go Home (usnews.com)