The House is expected to pass the two-month payroll tax cut extension today, preventing taxes from increasing for millions of Americans on Jan. 1. The Senate approved the deal Friday morning. House Speaker John Boehner caved under the enormous pressure and dropped his opposition to the extension, telling reporters late Thursday that the House had reached a deal to pass the Senate’s two-month extension deal after minor modifications , according to the Washington Post:
The agreement resolved the last stalemate in a year of bitter congressional fighting that earned lawmakers their lowest approval ratings in recent memory.
In exchange for supporting the 60-day patch, Republicans secured minor face-saving concessions from Senate leaders, who had already passed a two-month deal on an overwhelming vote of 89 to 10. Senate leaders had balked at the House’s demand to restart talks over the holidays on a full-year extension of the tax cut.
The Senate agreed to make a technical change to the payroll tax reporting requirements, designed to lessen the burden on small businesses of implementing the two-month deal.
And Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) promised he would appoint a conference committee to take up negotiations after New Year’s Day on ways to pay for a full-year tax cut.
Both chambers will pass the plan by unanimous consent so long as no member shows up to voice opposition in person, which lets the deal pass even though most members have gone home. There was no opposition to the deal in the Senate Friday morning. The two-month extension gives House and Senate leaders time to negotiate for a yearlong extension after the holiday recess. “I am grateful that the voices of reason have prevailed,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said in a statement.
But so far, a few House freshmen have threatened to stop the deal. Freshman Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said he was “not yet sure” if he would protest the deal, and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) told CNN’s John King Thursday night, “I’m not so sure I’m not going to do that,” when asked if he’d drive to Washington, D.C. to stop the deal .
Boehner acknowledged the pressure he has felt, telling reporters Thursday that “I talked to enough members over the last 24 hours who say we don’t like the two-month extension and if you can get this fixed, why not do the right thing for the American people even if it’s not exactly what we want.”
Boehner received pressure from his own party — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the House to pass the two month extension yesterday — as well as the public. After the White House asked people to say what $40 — the average amount an American worker would lose per paycheck without the extension — would mean to them, thousands of people responded on Twitter using the #40dollars hashtag.
The House passed the extension deal by unanimous consent.
After the House passed the deal, Reid named his conferees : Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (MT), Ben Cardin (MD), Jack Reed (RI) and Bob Casey (PA). House Democrats named their conferees before the House adjourned: Reps. Sandy Levin (MI), Xavier Becerra (CA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Allyson Schwartz (PA), and Henry Waxman (CA).