Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the one-year payroll tax cut "was never intended to be permanent" at a press conference Wednesday on budget reform.
"It's a holiday," he said, according to the Washington Post. "Holidays come, holidays go. It was never intended to be permanent tax policy."
Ryan went on to compare the payroll tax cut to the Bush-era tax cuts. "The only reason they're not [permanent] is because of the Byrd rule and the Daschle filibuster in the Senate back in those days," he said, referring to the fact that the cuts expired after 10 years and Congress extended them in 2010 to the end of 2012.
On the payroll tax cut, he added that "one can question the economic efficacy of it" but said that "the question these days more or less comes down to how to cut spending to pay for it."
Ryan said a deal will be worked out soon. "We'll figure it out," he said according to Bloomberg. "It's all good."
Ryan said last June that the payroll tax cut was a "sugar high." "We've sort of proven this already, a number of times. Temporary tax rebates don't work to create economic growth. Permanent tax changes do," he added.
"This is the same economic reasoning, policies and logic that the president used to sell his stimulus," he said on Fox News in August when asked about the payroll tax cut. "It gave us $1 trillion in debt hang over. It would simply exacerbates our debt problems in my opinion."
Last year's agreement extending the Bush-era tax cuts also cut the payroll tax cut that workers pay from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. President Barack Obama has proposed cutting the rate further to 3.1 percent, paid for by a surtax on people earning $1 million or more annually. The House GOP bill would keep the payroll tax cut rate at 4.2 percent and would be paid for by extending the pay freeze on federal workers and other measures.
The payroll tax cut expires Jan. 1, and unless Congress acts, the average household will pay $1,000 more a year in taxes.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently said that Republicans were getting "picked apart" on the issue. The payroll tax cut debate has given Democrats the opportunity to criticize the GOP on opposing middle-class tax cuts while protecting the wealthy.