US Senate Republican Leader Calls on House to Pass Payroll Tax Extension

Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut that the Senate approved last week.

McConnell said in a statement Thursday that the House should pass the bill, which would also extend unemployment insurance and some seniors' access to health care.

He also said the Senate Democratic Majority Leader, Harry Reid, should appoint members to work with House negotiators on a long-term bill.

McConnell said Americans should not face the uncertainty of a rise in taxes in 2012. He said passing the measure also would support thousands of manufacturing jobs building the Keystone XL pipeline to deliver oil from Canada to Texas.

The White House said House Speaker John Boehner telephoned President Barack Obama Thursday to discuss the deadlock. It said the president told Boehner that the “only viable option” is to pass the extension bill and that the president is committed to begin working immediately on a full-year agreement after the two-month extension is passed.

Also Thursday, House Republicans and Democrats held separate news conferences. Speaker Boehner repeated his call for Senate Democrats to re-negotiate the extension bill, while House Democrat Steny Hoyer promised that if the extension is passed, Democrats will begin working immediately on legislation allowing the one-year extension the Republicans support.

The White House says 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up by about $1,000 a year if the House fails to pass the tax cut extension by the end of the year.

It also says about two million out-of-work Americans will lose their unemployment insurance if the House does not act.