Boehner opposes Senate payroll tax cut deal


House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) opposes the Senate-passed package on President Obama’s payroll tax cut, upending a year-end deal to continue the $1,000 average benefit for 160 million Americans.

Boehner’s opposition throws into doubt the ability of Congress to reach agreement by Dec. 31, when the tax break expires. He said rank-and-file Republicans reject the Senate’s approach of a short-term two-month continuation of the tax break, which had been a fallback effort at compromise after talks hit an impasse.

“How can you do tax policy for two months?” Boehner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press. “It’s time to do this the right way.”


Once again, Boehner has catered to his right flank and restive freshman class, putting him at odds with GOP leaders who reached the compromise agreement with Democrats this week.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the package in a rare Saturday vote in a compromise that pleased few members but found support as lawmakers calculated that time was running short on a deal to prevent a tax increase in the new year.

House Republicans apparently have no interest in such a compromise -- or revisiting the volatile political issue in two months. Even the addition of the GOP-backed provision to accelerate a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that Obama had shelved until after the fall 2012 election was not enough to draw their support.