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WASHINGTON D.C.-The Republican controlled House passed on a 234-193 vote, a one year extension of the payroll tax cut yesterday. All but 10 democrat representatives voted against it. Of the ten who voted for it, all waited until the bill was sure to pass before voting in favor of it.
House Speaker John Boehner told reporters after the vote, “We’ve passed a large bill that contains many of the priorities of our caucus and the White House. We’ve worked to find common ground, now Senate Democrats must act.”
The bill, that will probably be vetoed by the administration, also includes a funding repeal of the 2010 Healthcare law, and includes a measure that would force the White House to expedite a decision on the Keystone Pipeline. Also added into the bill are measures delaying environmental regulations, limits on jobless benefis as well as restrictions on benefits for illegal immigrants.
The package now goes to the Senate, where Senate Democrats wanted to vote on the package last night, but Senate Republicans objected to the vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nev) calls the legislation unacceptable and said House Republicans were wasting their time sending over legislation that will be dead on arrival. Reid told the press that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the vote on the House measure in the Senate.
Reid said that McConnell’s approval was necessary to take the measure to a vote, adding that a vote would be a exercise in futility, but a necessary move. The vote to reject the measure would begin the negotiation process.
Republicans in the House are saying that Reid is holding up the omnibus bill, the bill that funds the federal government through 2012, until the payroll tax bill is hammered out. If the Omnibus bill is passed, the House would adjourn and leave before the payroll tax bill is completed. This would force the Senate to accept the bills unchanged.
White House press secretary Jay Carney in a statement, said, “It is our expectation that in the eleventh hour Congressional Republicans and Democrats will come to an agreement to protect the middle class and finish their budget work for the year.”