(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives is poised to reject a Senate-passed two-month extension of a year-end economic package on Tuesday, preferring instead to hold out for a year-long extension and challenge Congressional Democrats in yet another political showdown over a popular tax break for the middle class.
Following a closed-door conference meeting with his rank and file membership Monday evening, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that the GOP wants to “solve this problem now” because “it’s time to just do the right thing for the American people.”
“Our members believe that we passed a reasonable, responsible bill that would extend the payroll tax credit for a year,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Our members do not want to just punt and do a two-month short-term fix where we have to come back and do this again. We’re here, we’re willing to work, we will appoint conferees and we hope the Senate will appoint conferees because we’re willing to get the work done now and do it the right way.”
The GOP meeting lasted more than two hours as the rank and file told leadership that they could not support the short-term deal.
“We disagree with what the Senate produced and as a result we’re asking to go to conference with the Senate so we can resolve the differences between the two Houses,” Boehner said. “We’re willing to stay here, to get the job done, to make sure the payroll tax credit is done for the entire year so that the American people and small businesses have some certainty about what the tax code’s going to look like for all of next year.”
A short time later, however, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that if the House passes a motion to go to conference on the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, she will not appoint any House Democrats to participate in the negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also indicated he will not appoint conferees to the conference negotiations.
“I don’t think we should go to conference,” Pelosi said. “Right now we don’t even have an opportunity to vote on the bill. The American people asked for three things: jobs, this middle income tax cut, and for us to work together. This proposal that the Senate did meets those standards.”
While Pelosi told reporters she had learned that the House would not hold a clean vote on the Senate measure, a senior GOP leadership aide confirmed to ABC News that the House will in fact proceed as planned on a series of votes related to the payroll tax cut, including a motion to concur with the Senate amendment to H.R. 3630, although it is expected to fail.
Members will then vote to pass a motion for the House to go to conference on the bill and negotiate final legislation with the Senate. Finally, the House will vote on a resolution to express the sense of the House of Representatives “regarding any final measure to extend the payroll tax holiday, extend federally funded unemployment insurance benefits, or prevent decreases in reimbursement for physicians to provide care to Medicare beneficiaries.”
The House meets Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. After the House passes the motion to go to conference and the resolution expressing that the sense of the House is to enact a year-long extension, lawmakers could be released Tuesday evening to return to their districts for the holidays.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Eric Bradner, CNN
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal
Daniella Diaz and Jeff Zeleny, CNN
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com