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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora