Washington – Congress showed little sign Tuesday morning of resolving its partisan standoff over the payroll tax-cut extension as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives refused to hold a vote on a Senate proposal, and leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate insisted they won’t go along with a new House plan.
As the clock ticked down, nobody appeared willing to bend and neither side seemed to know how to break the logjam.
The Senate voted 89-10 in favor of a two-month tax-cut extension on Saturday, but that short-term compromise has slammed into a conservative roadblock in the House, where rank-and-file Republicans are fuming over the short-term nature of the plan, among other things.
A Republican-led congressional panel on Monday night rejected a Democratic motion to allow a full House vote on the Senate plan — a move top Democrats characterized as a sign of weakness on the part of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House GOP leaders.
The House is instead holding votes Tuesday on a measure calling for the issue to be taken up by a House-Senate conference committee, as well as on a resolution supporting a year-long extension of both the payroll tax cut and emergency federal unemployment benefits.
House Republicans are also pushing for a new, two-year “doc fix,” or delay in significant scheduled pay cuts to Medicare physicians.
All three measures are currently set to expire December 31.
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