With some Republican opposition toward a short-term payroll tax cut extension out in the open, the White House responded on Sunday with its own intentions.
In a rare Saturday session, the Senate easily passed a measure that extends the popular middle-class cut. The deal was expected to pass in the House on Monday -- until sources said that Republicans are threatening to squelch the two-month resolution.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer released a statement Sunday evening, prodding the GOP to refrain from resorting to politics on this issue.
The bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate yesterday received 89 votes, including 39 Republican votes, and Speaker Boehner himself just yesterday called it a "good deal" and a "victory." The near 90 percent approval by the Senate reflected the view by the overwhelming number of Senate Republicans -- as well as Democrats -- that the best way to achieve the President’s goal of ensuring that taxes were not increased on 160 million Americans as we enter the New Year was to support this bipartisan compromise. If House Republicans refuse to pass this bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut, there will be a significant tax increase on 160 million hardworking Americans in 13 days that would damage the economy and job growth. After months of opposition, we are glad that Republicans were finally showing a willingness to not raise taxes on middle class families. As the President said yesterday, it is inexcusable to do anything less than extend this tax cut for the entire year, and Congress must work on a one year deal. But they should pass the two month extension now to avoid a devastating tax hike from hitting the middle class in just 13 days. It’s time House Republicans stop playing politics and get the job done for the American people.
Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) confirmed that House Republicans oppose the deal passed by the Senate. Boehner appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press," making it clear that his GOP cohorts are against any type of short-term solution.
"I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road," Boehner said. "It's time to just stop, do our work, resolve the differences and extend this for one year."
The two-percent payroll tax break has been reaped by some 160 million Americans over the last year. Within Saturday's Senate measure, President Barack Obama and Democrats were willing to concede on the contentious Keystone XL pipeline -- agreeing to language requiring the administration to make a decision within 60 days.