Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that neither he nor rank-and-file House Republicans supported the Senate’s two-month payroll tax cut extension, casting doubt on the chances for an agreement less than a week before Christmas.
“It’s pretty clear that I and our members oppose the Senate bill,” Boehner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” a day after Republican lawmakers voiced strong opposition to a measure that passed the Senate on an overwhelming, 89-10, vote on Saturday.
The House will return to Washington on Monday night, and GOP leaders said the lower chamber will either amend the Senate bill or approve a formal conference committee to bridge the gap between that version and a House-passed, one-year extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits.
Boehner sharply criticized the Senate for approving only a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, when both President Obama and Republican leaders had backed a yearlong extension.
“How can you do tax policy for two months?” Boehner asked. “I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road. The American people are tired of that.”
He suggested a conference committee between the House and Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) immediately called for the House to bring up the Senate bill and said if it didn’t, “Republicans will be forcing a thousand-dollar tax increase on middle class families on January 1st.”