Will the House GOP kill the payroll tax break?

John Boehner and Co. vow not to back the Senate's two-month extension of the popular tax cut — and it may be too late to negotiate a new deal

House Republicans are reportedly frustrated with Speaker John Boehner for failing to prevent the Senate deal that lead to a two-month payroll tax holiday.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It may not be a happy holiday on Capitol Hill. House Republicans are threatening to reject the Senate's two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, which is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. Speaker John Boehner insists that passing such a short-term fix will create uncertainty for the economy. It would also potentially give President Obama another two months to hammer the GOP over the tax break. But it may be too late for a new deal: The Senate has already shut down for the holidays, and its Democratic leaders say they don't intend to come back to Washington to negotiate. They consider the Senate bill a bipartisan compromise — it passed 89-10. Will the House GOP really let the tax cut die?

Of course. These radicals are experienced hostage-takers: The two parties have already negotiated on this, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. "House Republicans said they'd demand an expedited Keystone decision" — referring to the controversial oil pipeline that President Obama has avoided ruling on — "and Senate Republicans successfully negotiated that into the deal." But now it turns out that's not enough for the "radicalized House GOP caucus." They don't want a middle-class tax cut anyway, so they'll hold it hostage and, if necessary, let it die if they don't get even more "right-wing goodies."

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