Payroll tax cut extension appears unlikely

December 19, 2011

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said he's holding out hope that the House of Representatives will pass a tax break plan Monday.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote down a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut that cleared the Senate on Saturday. Republican Speaker John Boehner is rejecting the plan and requesting negotiations on a full-year renewal.

Durbin said Boehner's opposition is a political move.

"He sat down with the Democratic leaders of the Senate and the Republican leaders as well. And he basically turned to them and said, 'You two work it out.' And they did," Durbin said. "Senators [Harry] Reid and [Senator Mitch] McConnell reached an agreement; a bi-partisan agreement. And it wasn't until after that happened and the Senate left town that Speaker Boehner said he couldn't accept it."

Without action by Congress, both the payroll tax cut and a program for long-term unemployment benefits will expire on January 1st.

Boehner has said the House and Senate could come to a compromise, but didn't say how soon he thought that could happen.