WASHINGTON — The Senate has wrapped itself into a partisan tangle over its year-end tax and spending business.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, refused Wednesday to let the chamber vote quickly on a House-passed bill extending this year's payroll tax cut through 2012. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will reject that bill, and only then can he negotiate with House Republicans over a compromise payroll tax measure.
McConnell says the Senate should first vote on legislation financing the federal government, because a temporary bill keeping agencies open expires on Saturday, threatening a government shutdown.
Reid would not allow a vote on the spending bill. Democrats worry that if Congress passes that measure first, it would ease pressure on Republicans to reach compromise on the payroll tax legislation.
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