WASHINGTON, Dec. 19- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are urging House-Senate negotiations on the payroll tax cut in the midst of the Congressional standoff.
The House will vote tonight on the Senate's two-month payroll tax cut extension. House Republicans insist on changes to the Senate measure, which passed Saturday on an 89-10 vote.
Expectations for an agreement on extending the payroll tax cut fell Sunday after Boehner announced he and his House Republicans opposed the compromise legislation that passed the Senate.
House leaders will vote tonight to make amendments to extend the cut for a year. If not, they will demand a conference to prevent "kicking the can down the road."
"The American people are tired of that. I think, frankly, I'm tired of it. On the House side, we've seen this kind of action before coming out of the Senate. It's time to just stop, do our work, resolve the differences and extend this for one year," Boehner said.
Boehner wants Republicans to defeat the two-month extension. “This is a vote about whether Congress will stay and do its work or go on vacation,” he reportedly told press at the Capitol.
However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has no plans to call senators back to Washington before their scheduled return in five weeks. He said he would only return to the bargaining table once the House clears the short-term measure.
“I will not re-open negotiations until the House follows through and passes this agreement that was negotiated by Republican leaders, and supported by 90 percent of the Senate,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a release Monday.
“I have always sought a year-long extension. I have been trying to forge one for weeks, and I am happy to continue negotiating one once we have made sure middle-class families will not wake up to a tax increase on January 1st,” he said.
Reid and McConnell unveiled a package Friday night, which included language requiring Obama to make a decision in 60 days on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Senate passed the bill with 39 Republican and 50 Democratic approving votes. Boehner initially promoted the deal, but withdrew his support this weekend.
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