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Payroll tax cut bill facing Senate opposition

February 17, 2012 • National News


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Charman Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., raise their hands on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, as the bi-partisan House and Senate conferees gather to sign the compromise agreement. From are, Baucus, Camp, R-Mich., Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Hill negotiators Thursday officially unveiled hard-fought compromise legislation to prevent 160 million workers from getting slapped with a payroll tax hike, but it ran into turbulence in the Senate, where Republicans withheld support and several Democrats attacked it.

The measure would also extend jobless benefits and is a top election-year priority for President Barack Obama. It generally won backing from his Democratic allies in Congress. But it’s getting only grudging support from House Republicans and even less from Obama’s GOP rivals in the Senate, where party negotiators shunned the measure and its $89 billion impact on the budget deficit over the coming decade.

“The typical American family will still see an extra $40 in every paycheck, keeping nearly $1,000 of their hard-earned money this year,” Obama said in a statement. “And millions of Americans who are out pounding the pavement looking for new work to support their families will still be able to depend on the vital lifeline of unemployment insurance.”

But support in the Senate, where Democrats control 53 votes, seemed soft. It will take 60 votes to advance the measure, and Democratic vote counters braced for defections during voting, expected Friday. They also worried that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wasn’t rounding up Republican votes.

Meanwhile, in the House, the top Republican said the $143 billion measure won’t do anything to help the economy.

“Let’s be honest, this is an economic Login to read more

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