House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks of the floor of the House chamber on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, in Washington. The House rejected legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for two months, drawing a swift rebuke from President Barack Obama that Republicans were threatening [auth] higher taxes on 160 million workers on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic leader of the Senate is urging Speaker John Boehner to bring the House back to Washington and approve the bipartisan Senate-approved bill extending a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has written a letter to Boehner saying he is willing to negotiate on a yearlong extension of the tax cut and unemployment coverage. But Reid says first, the House should approve the Senate-passed two-month extension.
The letter is the latest salvo between the two chambers. Without congressional action, the payroll tax paid by 160 million workers and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed will end on Jan. 1.
House Republicans have demanded that House and Senate bargainers meet to work toward a compromise. Most lawmakers have left town for the holidays.