News / USA

US House Lawmakers Reject Senate Payroll Tax Cut Bill

House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)
House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives has rejected Senate legislation to extend a payroll tax cut for two months, leaving the prospect that 160 million Americans will see a tax increase at the start of the new year.  The vote provoked angry responses from the White House and Democratic legislators.  

Lawmakers on Tuesday traded barbs and blamed each other in heated debate, just days before the payroll tax cut will expire.

In a vote of 229 to 193, the House voted Tuesday to set aside the bill and requested a formal conference with the Senate to work out the differences.

After the vote, President Barack Obama expressed his frustration and accused Republicans of playing politics.

"We have more important things to worry about than politics right now.  We have more important things to worry about than saving face or figuring out internal caucus politics.  We have people who are counting on us to make their lives just a little bit easier," said Obama.

But Republicans said the House previously did its part and passed legislation to extend the payroll tax cut for one year, while the Senate's two-month extension offers only uncertainty and a temporary fix.  

The top House Republican, Speaker John Boehner, said the Democratic-led Senate took the easy route in the rush to leave town for the Christmas break.  He said he wants to give the average family a $1,000 tax cut for 12 months as President Obama has requested.

"I just think the American people expect us to do our work," said Boehner.  "We've got 10 days to do our work.  We can resolve the differences between the House and Senate bill.  Everybody wants this extended for a year.  But it just happens to be inconvenient for some to try to resolve it at this point.  Why?  Because we're getting close to the holidays."

Fellow Republican, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said the remainder of the year could be used to come to agreement so taxes would not increase at the beginning of the year.

"So far, the House has passed a bipartisan, year-long plan to ensure that taxes do not go up," said Cantor.  "The Senate, on the other hand, has passed a two-month plan.  According to experts, the two-month plan is simply unworkable.  Families, employers and workers can't live their lives month-to-month.  Washington needs to stop adding confusion and more uncertainty to people's lives."

The legislation also extends unemployment payments to jobless workers and prevents cuts in payments for health care for the elderly.

The leader of the minority Democrats in the House, Nancy Pelosi, said the legislation is crucial.  She noted it enjoyed broad support in the Senate and charged that House Republicans never wanted the payroll tax cut.  She said that now the legislation is before them, they claim the length of the tax cut is too short.  

"Ninety percent of the Senate in a bipartisan way voted for this tax cut," said Pelosi.  "It is just the extreme Tea Party element of the Republicans in the House of Representatives who are standing in the way of a tax cut for 160 million Americans, unemployment benefits for millions of Americans and Medicare opportunity for 48 million seniors."

The Senate on Saturday overwhelmingly approved the two-month extension, and then its members left town for the holidays.  Senate leaders have indicated they will not call the chamber back into session to negotiate a new bill on the payroll tax.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs