House Republicans regained the initiative when it comes to tax cuts by approving a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut, despite the threat of Senate rejection and a presidential veto, The Hill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to reject the bill because of a number of provisions Democrats oppose. Republicans say Reid is stalling a year-end government funding bill until the GOP makes concessions on the payroll tax issue.
The House’s approval of the payroll tax plan Tuesday evening puts the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Obama and the Senate. House Republican leaders took it to Obama for threatening a veto on a bill that includes two provisions close to his heart — the payroll tax holiday and an extension of jobless benefits.
“We’ve passed a large bill that contains many of the priorities of our caucus and the White House. We’ve worked to find common ground,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters after the vote. “Now Senate Democrats must act.”
The White House didn’t take the House vote well. “This Congress needs to do its job and stop the tax hike that’s scheduled to affect 160 million Americans in 18 days,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
The Obama administration is upset with methods included in the bill to fund the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation extensions. That includes a repeal of funding for the 2010 healthcare law, a pay freeze for federal government workers and a reduction in some Medicare benefits for the wealthy.
Obama already had threatened to reject the Republican bill because it contains a requirement for the administration to speed up its decision on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
Boehner was able to win Republican support for the bill by including the Keystone provision and other planks that would delay environmental regulations, limit the duration of unemployment compensation, and restrict benefits for illegal immigrants.
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