The U.S. House will likely pass a $180 billion GOP bill tying a payroll tax cut and more jobless benefits to a divisive oil pipeline, Speaker John Boehner said."The House will vote on the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act -- a bill that should pass with bipartisan support," Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday, one day ahead of the expected vote.
Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., crossed party lines Monday and said he would vote "yes" on the GOP bill, which links the tax-cut extension to a host of other measures -- including a provision that would speed up a decision by the Obama administration on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline system to transport synthetic crude oil and diluted asphalt, tar and other road- and roof-surfacing materials to the Gulf Coast from Alberta, Canada -- a project the White House has sought to delay.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., repeated his opposition to the bundled House GOP bill Monday and the White House repeated President Barack Obama would veto the measure if it reached his desk.
White House spokesman Jay Carney asked, "What happened to Republican support for tax cuts?""They're so passionate about it when it comes to defending extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest earners. ... But when it comes to most Americans who get a paycheck -- who need that extra 1,000 bucks, or 1,550 bucks next year to make ends meet -- they're like, 'Well, not so much, unless I get this,'" Carney said.Boehner dodged a question about the possibility of a compromise with the Democratic-controlled Senate."The House is going to do its job and it's time for the Senate then to do its job," he told reporters.The House GOP plan -- which would keep the normal 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax workers pay at 4.2 percent next year -- includes legislation already passed in the House to roll back Environmental Protection Agency rules limiting toxic air pollutants from commercial and industrial boilers, and ban the EPA from proposing a new standard in the near future.In addition, it would cut the maximum unemployment coverage to 59 weeks from the current 99 weeks by mid-2012. And it would prevent a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors next year -- instead, increasing their Medicare payments 1 percent each of the next two years.The plan seeks to pay for the extended tax cut and added unemployment benefits by cutting back on social-program benefits, selling federal assets, freezing federal employees' pay through 2015 and cutting the number of federal workers by about 10 percent through attrition.
The Senate Democrats' bills, which Senate Republicans have rejected through use of the filibuster, would drop the payroll tax to 3.1 percent next year and provide employers with similar reductions. It would pay for the tax-cut extension with a 3.25 percent tax on gross income over $1 million for single filers and married couples filing jointly.Reducing the employee's share of payroll taxes to 3.1 percent and extending the cut to employers would spur enough new consumer spending to add about 750,000 jobs, Moody's Analytics says. The Moody's forecast assumes the tax cut is offset by the proposed surtax on millionaires, beginning in 2013.