Extend the U.S. payroll tax cuts

The White House Sunday threw its weight behind a bipartisan compromise achieved in the Senate to extend the U.S. payroll tax cuts for two months, after Republican leaders rejected the Senate proposal.

The bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate Saturday received 89 votes, including 39 Republican votes, and Speaker John Boehner himself called it a “good deal” and a “victory”, the White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday.

“The near 90 percent approval by the Senate reflected the view by the overwhelming number of Senate Republicans, as well as Democrats, that the best way to achieve the President’s goal of ensuring that taxes were not increased on 160 million Americans as we enter the New Year was to support this bipartisan compromise,” Pfeiffer said in a statement.

The Senate voted Saturday and approved a two-month extension of payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. The legislation which was passed by an 89-10 vote also contained a provision demanded by Republicans to speed approval of the construction of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.

Facing pressure from rank-and-file House GOP lawmakers, Boehner, the top GOP congressman, said Sunday that payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits deal inked by the upper chamber was not satisfactory, as he held they should be extended for one year instead of two months.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top GOP leader in the upper chamber, Sunday joined Boehner to ask Democrats to renegotiate the deal, raising the stakes of another round of contentious partisan wrangling.

“If House Republicans refuse to pass this bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut, there will be a significant tax increase on 160 million hardworking Americans in 13 days that would damage the economy and job growth,” Pfeiffer stressed.

“As the President said yesterday, it is inexcusable to do anything less than extend this tax cut for the entire year, and Congress must work on a one year deal. But they should pass the two month extension now to avoid a devastating tax hike from hitting the middle class in just 13 days. It’s time House Republicans stop playing politics and get the job done for the American people,” Pfeiffer charged.

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