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What Are They Scared Of? GOP Refuses Up or Down Vote on Senate Bipartisan Compromise on Middle Class Tax Cut

Nancy Pelosi's House Leadership Office (D) posted a Blog Post on December 20, 2011 | 10:34 am - Original Item - Comments (View)

Despite calls for a bipartisan compromise from across the Capitol and the country, House Republicans continue to insist on a tax hike for the middle class.  With just days left until the payroll tax cut expires, House Republicans refuse to even hold an up or down vote on the bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate—legislation that Speaker Boehner himself called a "good deal" on Saturday:

CNN: Republicans on the House rules committee have voted to prevent a direct vote Tuesday on a Senate plan favored by Democrats and Senate Republicans to extend the payroll tax cut for two months.

New York Times: However, rather than have a straight up-or-down vote, the House will implement a procedural maneuver in which they will "reject" the Senate bill while requesting to go to conference with members of that chamber in a single measure, protecting House members from having to actually vote against extending a payroll tax cut. During the conference meeting among Republican members, some members expressed concern about effectively voting for a tax increase on the eve of an election year, said some who attended. 

Politico: First, John Boehner wanted the Senate to pass a payroll tax cut bill. Then, he wanted to make a show of killing it. Now, he won't hold a House vote on it at all.

@ChadPergram (FOX News): Hse R’s scrap original plan for direct vote on Senate version of payroll tax plan. Msg sent to Hse R’s Sun said they expected a direct vote

The Hill: House Republicans plan to vote at midday Tuesday on a measure to go to conference with the Senate on the payroll tax holiday… it would be expressed as a vote in favor of going to the conference, and not a vote against cutting the payroll tax. Originally the GOP had planned to hold a vote on agreeing to the Senate bill, but under the rule adopted by the House Rules Commitee on Monday night, the House will no longer vote on the Senate bill.

Financial Times: But in a sign that the decision to thwart passage of the short-term payroll tax bill could be politically damaging for Republicans, the House leadership delayed a straight vote intended to reject the legislation approved by the Senate.  Rather, the House is expected on Tuesday to take up a measure to "disagree with the Senate amendment and request a conference"…

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: …GOP leaders set up a parliamentary situation that does not include a direct vote on a two month extension approved on Saturday by the Senate.

CQ Today: The Rules panel voted 8-4 to approve a rule that would permit a motion to go to conference with the Senate on the original one-year extension of the payroll tax and other provisions, as passed the House on Dec. 13 on a largely party-line vote.  The rule would not allow a direct vote on the Senate-passed version of the bill.

Bloomberg: [The House GOP] also structured the question facing the House so that Republicans will be the ones casting "yes" votes to seek a conference with the Senate on the bill rather than casting "no" votes under a previously planned procedure…Under the previous plan, if enough Republicans had defected, the short-term extension would have passed. Under the new plan, Republican defections would result in the House taking no action.

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