House GOP Leaders Accept Short-Term Payroll Tax Cut Extension
In an abrupt about-face, House Republican leaders agreed Thursday to a Senate proposal to extend the payroll tax cut and avert a scheduled payment cut to Medicare doctors for two months to allow lawmakers time to hammer out a longer-term agreement after the holidays.
The New York Times: House GOP Leaders Agree To Extension Of Payroll Tax Cut
Under a deal reached between House and Senate leaders, the House will now approve as early as Friday the two-month extension of a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits approved by the Senate last Saturday, and the Senate will appoint members of a House-Senate conference committee to negotiate legislation to extend both benefits through 2012. ... In addition, under the agreement, Medicare will continue paying doctors at current rates for two months, averting a 27 percent cut that would otherwise occur on Jan. 1 (Steinhauer, 12/22).
The Washington Post: House GOP Agrees To 2-Month Extension Of Payroll Tax Cut
The agreement represented a remarkable capitulation on the part of House Republicans, who had two days earlier rejected such a deal with Democrats as the kind of half-measure that their new majority was elected to thwart. ... The two-month arrangement had been crafted by (Sen. Mitch) McConnell and (Sen. Harry) Reid after talks fell apart in the Senate over how to pay for a $200 billion year-long package. Republicans had sought to impose higher Medicare premiums on upper-income senior citizens while Democrats wanted to close tax loopholes for the wealthy. They will return to that impasse in January (Helderman, 12/22).
The Wall Street Journal: Agreement Reached To Extend Tax Break
[T]he agreement would extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed and continue current Medicare payment rates for doctors, which are slated to decline at year's end. That's essentially the same package negotiated by the Democratic-controlled Senate that Mr. Boehner's House had rejected earlier this week. One difference in the new agreement is the elimination of a Senate-crafted provision businesses believed would be burdensome (Hook and Meckler, 12/23).
Los Angeles Times: House GOP Leaders Yield On Payroll Tax
House Republican leaders, bowing to pressure from both the White House and their Senate colleagues, agreed to a stopgap measure that will forestall a tax increase on American workers that was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The deal is expected to come to a vote Friday under procedures that would require all members in both chambers to agree (Mascaro and Nicholas, 12/22).
USA Today: House Republicans Agree To Two-Month Payroll Tax Patch
The short-term deal extends the current payroll tax rate at 4.2 percent from 6.2 percent and continues to provide unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. It also includes a Medicare "doc fix" that will prevent a drop in payments to doctors who treat seniors, and it extends and funds the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program that provides welfare benefits to 4.6 million Americans (Davis, 12/22).
Politico: The Humbling Of The House GOP
At no small personal political risk, (House Speaker John) Boehner laid down the law to his unruly caucus, substituting his own judgment for their collective wisdom in cutting a very slightly altered deal with President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Budoff Brown and Allen, 12/23).
The Fiscal Times: House GOP Caves On Tax-Cut Extension
The move came only hours after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky issued a statement urging Boehner and his House GOP colleagues to go along with the two-month extension and to set in motion negotiations between the House, Senate and White House to hammer out a year-long extension of the tax cut and unemployment benefits, as well as a measure to block a deep cut in physician's Medicare reimbursement rates, the so-called "Doc Fix" (Pianin, 12/22).
ABC: Senate Democrats Celebrate Payroll Tax Cut Deal
Senate Democrats are celebrating this evening that the House of Representatives looks to be headed toward passing the two-month payroll tax extension tomorrow. "I am grateful that the voices of reason have prevailed and Speaker Boehner has agreed to pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a paper statement tonight. "Year-long extensions of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare payments for physicians has always been our goal, and Democrats will not rest until we have passed them" (Miller, 12/22).