House GOP Backing Off Payroll Tax Cut Demands
House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said they were forced to abandon their spending cut proposal because they could not reach an agreement with House Democrats. From the Boston Globe:
The GOP statement came after intense talks this weekend failed to produce an agreement. Republicans were pressing for pay cuts for federal workers and requiring them to contribute more to their pensions. They recoiled at a Democratic proposal to raise Transportation Security Administration per-ticket airline security fees.
“Democrats' refusal to agree to any spending cuts in the conference committee has made it necessary for us to prepare this fallback option to protect small business job creators and ensure taxes don't go up on middle-class workers,” the GOP leadership statement said.
The House could vote on the tax cut extension this week.
But the GOP leadership is not backing off calls for spending cuts to pay for a proposed extension of jobless benefits. Like the payroll tax cuts, the extension for jobless benefits is set to expire at the end of February. GOP House members also reportedly want to put limitations on who can receive jobless benefits.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Democrats haven't accepted the offer, according to the aides. Still, one of the aides, a Democrat, called the Republican offer a breakthrough that is bringing negotiators closer to an agreement.
Some Democratic negotiators, such as Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, have said lawmakers shouldn't have to cover the cost of unemployment benefits because they are emergency provisions. Others, including Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, have said they are open to paying for an extension by raising taxes for oil-and-gas companies or changing the tax treatment of carried interest compensation paid to private equity managers.
A statement from the House GOP leadership, including Boehner and Cantor, says Republicans will continue to seek spending cuts after the payroll tax cut extension is passed.
“Because the president and Senate Democratic leaders have not allowed their conferees to support a responsible bipartisan agreement, today House Republicans will introduce a backup plan that would simply extend the payroll tax holiday for the remainder of the year while the conference negotiations continue regarding offsets, unemployment insurance, and the ‘doc fix.’”
Read the full statement here