Debate over the payroll tax cut remains heated as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio, photo) demanded from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a year-long tax cut. The challenge threw another wrench into the negotiations on the deal, which, if not reached by the New Year, will result in an increase in payroll taxes as the present payroll tax reduction expires.
According to California Healthine:
Last week, the House voted 234-193 to pass a GOP bill that would extend for one year a $1,000 payroll tax break that is set to expire at the end of this month and stave off a nearly 30% cut to Medicare physician rates that is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012. Instead, the legislation would increase reimbursement rates by 1% over the next two years.
The Senate did not take up that legislation, but instead voted 89-10 on Saturday to approve a two-month version of the payroll tax break and Medicare "doc fix" measure.
The measure engages in some slight-of-hand shuffling of revenue as it would raise fees on new mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The GOP bill also includes a provision forcing the President to make a decision on the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline within the next 60 days.
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