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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

House Votes To Send Payroll Tax Cut Bill To Conference

By Susan Duclos

The House of Representatives passed a motion to send the payroll tax cut issue to conference to be hammered out for passage. Roll call found here.

“The Senate did produce a bill, and today Republicans will move to conference to reconcile the two measures,” the aide said shortly before the vote. “That’s how Congress works, and we see no reason to stray from regular order. This is the system our founders gave us, so let’s take the next 10 days and make it work.”

The Senate passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax on Saturday, and the House passed its own year-long extension last Tuesday.

The Speaker of the House website explains:

As the House continues its pursuit of a full-year extension of payroll tax relief to help families and small businesses today, the two-month extension proposed by Senate Democrats is being called “not workable.” The National Payroll Reporting Consortium, non-partisan tax experts, released a report saying Senate Democrats’ short-term bill could create “substantial problems, confusion, and costs” – more uncertainty – for job creators already struggling in President Obama’s economy. Here’s a look at some of the coverage of their report:

  • SHORT-TERM SENATE BILL “NOT WORKABLE”: “As lawmakers fought, payroll specialists told Congress on Monday that the two-month change in Social Security payroll tax rates envisioned in the Senate bill was not workable.” (New York Times, 12/20/11)
  • “SUBSTANTIAL PROBLEMS, CONFUSION, & COSTS”: “Pete Isberg, president of the NPRC today wrote to the key leaders of the relevant committees of the House and Senate, telling them that ‘insufficient lead time’ to implement the complicated change mandated by the legislation means the two-month payroll tax holiday ‘could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees.’” (ABC News, 12/19/11)
  • “UNPRECEDENTED COMPLICATIONS”: “Payroll processors are warning that a two-month payroll tax-cut extension passed by the U.S. Senate would be difficult to implement. ... [T]he Senate-backed two-month extension of the tax cut that could create unprecedented complications.” (Bloomberg, 12/20/11)
  • “CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED PROPERLY”: “Officials from the policy-neutral National Payroll Reporting Consortium, Inc. have expressed concern to members of Congress that the two-month payroll tax holiday passed by the Senate and supported by President Obama cannot be implemented properly.” (ABC News, 12/19/11)

Click here to learn more about the House-passed bill which extends payroll tax relief (for a full year, as requested by the president), reforms and extends unemployment insurance, and includes bipartisan measures that support private-sector job creation. The Senate bill, on the other hand, “is going to cause job creators all kinds of problems,” as Speaker Boehner said last night.

That’s why the House will appoint negotiators today to begin working with Senate Democrats -- so Congress can get this important work done before the end of the year. “When there’s a disagreement between the two chambers we sit down in a conference and resolve those differences,” said Speaker Boehner. And that’s exactly what the House will do.

Harry Reid is refusing to appoint negotiators.