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Boehner: House to reject Senate-passed payroll tax ‘gimmick’

Speaker of the House John Boehner answers reporters' questions during a news conference on the payroll tax vote outside his office at the Capitol.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that he expects the House to vote down the payroll tax deal brokered by Senate Republicans and Democrats, and push for further negotiations in the year-end battle over extending the tax holiday.

At a brief morning news conference, Boehner aimed to put fresh pressure on the Senate, which adjourned for the holidays after passing the deal on Saturday, to come back to the table.

“This is a vote on whether Congress will stay and do its work or go on vacation,” Boehner said.

But Senate Democrats say they’ve already come up with a bipartisan, albeit temporary, solution that prevents American workers from seeing their payroll taxes increase on Jan. 1. The Senate bill continues the lower tax rate for two months, giving Congress more time to haggle over how to pay for a longer-term holiday.

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The extension of the tax break is President Obama’s top legislative priority and a key element of his jobs plan. House Republicans have long been cool to the idea, but now say they are committed to passing a one-year extension and no less.

The House is scheduled to vote Monday on a motion to send the Senate payroll bill to a conference committee to be reconciled with the House version, which included a one-year extension. The House is also expected to vote on a measure affirming its commitment to a full year.

Boehner repeated that he believes the two-month deal “creates uncertainty for job creators.”

“Americans are tired of Washington’s short-term fixes and gimmicks,” he said.

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However, Boehner’s arguments are blunted by the divisions within the GOP on the issue. Nearly all Senate Republicans, including the leadership, voted to approve the short-term extension.

As the deal was struck Friday night, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had been in contact with the House speaker throughout the negotiation process.

But when Boehner presented the package to his rank-and-file members during a a Saturday conference call, he was faced with a revolt.

On Monday, Boehner denied reports that he had encouraged his members to accept the deal and said that he had not promised his support to the president.

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“No, never, there was never a conversation with the White House,” he said.

A McConnell spokesman said the senator supports the House’s attempt to bring the bill to conference.


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