Seven Republicans voted against defeating the Senate bill and sending the legislation to conference, including Reps. Charles F. Bass (N.H.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Christopher P. Gibson (N.Y.), Timothy V. Johnson (Ill.), Walter B. Jones (N.C.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) and Frank R. Wolf (Va.). Flake opposes any form of payroll tax cut extension.
Democrats, who have pushed for the full-year payroll tax cut for months, say Congress should accept the temporary measure now and return in January to solve an impasse over how to extend the cut for the full year.
The Senate deal would also postpone a scheduled cut in reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients.
Shortly after the House vote, Obama called on House Republicans to “put politics aside” and allow a vote on the Senate bill.
“Let’s not play brinksmanship,” Obama said in the White House briefing room. “The American people are weary of it. They’re tired of it. . . . I’m calling on the speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote and give the American people the assurance they need in this holiday season.”
Saying that “time is running out,” he criticized a Republican lawmaker’s description of the showdown as “high-stakes poker.” Obama said: “He’s right about the stakes, but this is not poker. It’s not a game. . . . It’s not a game for the average family who doesn’t have an extra 1,000 bucks to lose.” He warned that the Senate compromise “is the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on January 1.”
Obama said the two-month extension was necessary to give lawmakers more time to work out a full-year extension. He charged that the real reason for House Republican opposition to the Senate deal “is to wring concessions from Democrats on issues that have nothing to do with the payroll tax cut, issues where the parties fundamentally disagree.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) implicitly rejected the president’s appeal and insisted that the next step is up to Obama and the Democrats.
“President Obama needs to call on Senate Democrats to go back into session, move to go to conference, and to sit down and resolve this bill as quickly as possible,” Boehner told reporters. “We’ve done our work for the American people. Now, it’s up to the president and Democrats in the Senate to do their job as well.” He said he has named eight lawmakers as GOP negotiators in a conference committee.
House Republicans oppose the Senate bill “because the two-month extension will create more uncertainty for job creators in our country when millions of Americans are out of work,” Boehner said. He also argued that “payroll processing companies say that the Senate bill is unworkable.”