Washington – Setting up a showdown with the White House and Senate Democrats, House Republican leaders Thursday proceeded with plans to vote next week on a proposal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while easing the path for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Meanwhile, the Senate blocked competing Democratic and Republican proposals to extend the payroll tax cut from proceeding Thursday, with both failing to get the 60 votes necessary.
Senate Republicans halted the Democratic proposal on a 50-48 vote. It included a surtax on income over $1 million to help pay for the lower payroll tax rate. Republicans seeking to shrink the size of government oppose such a tax increase.
Opposition from both parties blocked the Republican measure on a 76-22 vote. It would have been paid for by freezing federal pay as well as reducing the federal workforce by 10%, provisions rejected by President Barack Obama and Democrats.
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