Millions of Americans approach the new year as Congress moved further away from a solution Tuesday when the House of Representatives sought the formation of a conference committee rather than passing a Senate bill to avert the crisis.
blasted the House Republican leadership as the “Grinches” who stole Christmas from the middle class while remains hopeful for a resolution in the next 11 days.
Should Congress fail to act by Dec. 31, 166 million working Americans will see their payroll deductions increase while two million job seekers relying on extended unemployment payments will lose that source of income.
On Saturday, the Senate passed a bill, 89-10, extending the payroll tax holiday for 60 days to prevent paycheck deductions from rising. The legislation also continued the long term benefits for those without work for the same period.
Rather than vote on the Senate bill, the House chose to send the legislation to a joint conference committee of House and Senate members to seek a compromise. Dold wants a one-year extension rather than acting for two months and negotiating again in February.
“Individuals need to plan and a two-month extension will make it more difficult for them to assess it all. The President originally wanted a one-year extension,” Dold said. “This is the way it is supposed to work,” he added referring to the conference committee.”
Schakowsky wanted a chance to vote on the Senate bill. She blamed Republican leadership for not allowing her colleagues that opportunity because of a preference for partisan politics rather than helping the American people.
“The one and only reason this House of Representatives is not voting for the bi-partisan Senate bill to provide relief to middle class taxpayers, seniors and disabled on Medicare and jobless Americans is because it would pass,” Schakowsky said on the House floor
Though President Barack Obama originally wanted a one-year extension, he was unhappy with the House action, according to a report on Politico. He sees the Senate proposal as the only way to avoid less disposable income for Americans on Jan. 1.
“Let's be clear the bipartisan compromise that was reached on Saturday is the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on January first - the only one," Obama said at the White House after the House had voted to reject the Senate bill according to Politico.
Though no one knows if the Senate will return to Washington to participate in the conference committee this year, Dold hopes they will. Otherwise he admits he will regret his vote.
“If I didn’t think it would work I would have voted for the two month extension,” Dold said. “We have seen the conference committee work three times recently including the defense appropriations bill.”
Meanwhile, Schakowsky expressed fears nothing will happen before the end of the year directing her sarcasm to the House Republican leadership.
“Happy Chanukah to middle class Americans lighting the first candle tonight who won't get their $1,000 tax break,” Schakowsky said. “Merry Christmas to the jobless Americans, desperate for work, looking for work, who barely survive on unemployment checks. The House Republicans are the Grinches who stole your Christmas."