The House is expected to vote today on its version of an extension for the payroll-tax holiday, which would cut spending (the bulk of it years from now) to pay for continuing the 2-percentage-point tax cut in 2012. Also included is an attempt to force President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project that has been put on ice while everyone from Big Oil to Big Labor wonders aloud why an administration that says jobs are Job No. 1 would drag its feet on such a huge employment boost.
Here’s part of a preview of the vote, and the reaction it would get in the Democrat-controlled Senate, from Reuters:
Republicans are widely seen as using Keystone as a bargaining chip in their negotiations with Democrats over how to pay for the $120 billion cost of the payroll tax cut. Democrats are pushing for a surtax on millionaires to pay for it, which almost all Republicans reject.
“There will be an agreement,” a Republican aide said.
“It’s just a matter of when,” a top Democratic aide added. …
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, may offer an alternative to the House Republican bill, one that renews the payroll tax and extend jobless benefits without the Keystone provision, aides said.
But that will also likely fail, triggering negotiations between Reid and [Speaker John] Boehner.
Aides and lawmakers say there are several areas for possible compromise in the final bill, which would also renew jobless benefits that are set to begin to expire on Dec. 31.
Some time on Christmas Eve, Senate Democrats and House Republicans will announce their compromise on the payroll tax cut. The compromise? They’ll pass the tax cut (and jobless benefits extension) without using either side’s proposal for paying for the bill. Neither measure will be very stimulative, but both sides will trip over each other to claim credit.
And on it goes.
– By Kyle Wingfield