A compromise measure approved overwhelmingly in the United States Senate that would extend the Social Security payroll tax cut for two months has been rejected by the House.
The biggest disagreement between the Senate and the House, according to Congressman Lee Terry, is the short-term fix. But that’s not the only disagreement.
“We disagree with a lot of what the Senate took out and disagree with what they put in and we should have the right to have a negotiated conference,” Terry tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The Senate Saturday approved a compromise measure on an 89-to-10 vote. Senate leaders agreed to extend the 2% payroll tax cut for two months, giving Congress more time to negotiate an agreement to extend the tax cut throughout 2012. The Senate stripped several measures inserted by the House, such as restrictions on benefits for the long-term unemployed and cuts to discretionary spending to pay for the measure. It left in a provision on the Keystone XL pipeline to garner Republican support.
Terry insists the two chambers could easily reach agreement if the Senate returns to Washington. That might be a big if. The Senate adjourned until Monday, January 23rd, after reaching the compromise this past weekend. Senate leadership has stated it won’t call members back to Washington.
Congressman Adrian Smith says that if the two sides will just meet, a compromise could be reached.
“We know what the issues are here. We know what the timeline needs to be. I think it’s very reasonable that a conference committee can convene and get the job done,” Smith says in an interview with Nebraska Radio Network.
If talks don’t resume in the next couple of weeks, the payroll tax will return to its normal rate of 6.2% and the tax cut enjoyed by 160 million Americans, one million in Nebraska, would end. The tax cut totals an average $1,000 a year for workers.
More than the payroll tax cut extension is at stake. Congress also is working on extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and preventing Medicare from cutting its reimbursement to doctors. Also in the mix is the requirement that the president decide on TransCanada’s permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days.