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Entries in Payroll Conference Committee (3)

Wednesday
Feb082012

Payroll Tax Conferees Limp to Deadline

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While the conference negotiators tasked with extending three economic priorities through the end of 2012 grapple with “pay-fors” to offset spending, leaders from both political parties warned on Tuesday that the conferees could be headed for another deadlock. 

The conference committee has nine days before it is expected to report back to Congress.

“We have significant concerns about whether Senate Democrats are really willing to step up and work with House Republicans on the payroll tax cut bill,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.  ”We’ve been in conference trying to work out our differences, but what’s pretty clear is that Senate Democrats have never come to the table with a plan to offset this new spending that they’re all for.”

The 20-member, bipartisan, bicameral panel is working to extend the payroll tax credit through the end of the year, reform and extend unemployment insurance and also enact a so-called Doc Fix for physicians treating Medicare patients.

The conference committee held its fourth public meeting on Tuesday, deliberating for almost two-and-a-half hours over spending cuts and new revenue to cover the $150 billion to $160 billion price tag of the extensions.

Republicans and Democrats alike recognized that time is running out on negotiators to come up with a deal that both chambers of Congress can pass before the Feb. 29 deadline.  The committee has targeted Feb. 17 as the day to complete its work so that both bodies have enough time to pass the bill.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the top Democrat participating in the negotiations, said he believes the committee is “making real progress” and he hopes it can reach an agreement soon.

“We don’t have time,” Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance committee, said. “In fact I think we have less time than we think we have. By that I mean I think we have to wrap this up…in a matter of days, and I would urge us to be thinking of ways that we could compromise.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb032012

Senate Dems Draft ‘Backup’ Plan If Payroll Tax Conference Committee Fails

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the second time in as many days, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is increasing the heat on the payroll tax conference committee.

The committee, tasked with finding a deal to extend the payroll tax cut for a year before its Feb. 29 deadline, has met three times, making little -- if any -- progress.

Reid Friday said that Senate Democrats are already “drafting” a bill as a “backup” if the committee fails to reach agreement. The majority leader said he would bring the bill to the floor, "if we don’t have something in the relatively near future from the payroll conference committee."

“If we have to put it forward we will,” Reid said on a conference call Friday with reporters, “Democrats will not let taxes go up on the middle class.

The two-month extension of the payroll tax cut expires March 1, leaving the committee slightly more than three weeks to broker a deal.

“We need to get a payroll tax bill done,” Reid said. “I have great confidence in my conferees, but I am not going to stand by while the stalling takes place on the Republican side.”

The bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers was chosen by Senate and House leaders after the House and Senate failed to pass one bill for a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, opting instead to pass the short two-month deal and leave the larger negotiation to the conference committee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

 

Thursday
Feb022012

Reid Warns Payroll Conference Committee: ‘I Want to See Some Action’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The pressure is mounting on the payroll conference committee to strike a compromise to extend the payroll tax cut for a year before a Feb. 29 deadline.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday issued a stern warning to members of the committee to move toward a deal or Senate Democrats will move on a bill without them.

“I want to see some action,” Reid said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. “I want everyone to be put on notice that we are not going to walk away from this without having some serious votes. If they are unwilling to do something on a bipartisan basis, then we’re going to do something to move the bill forward.”

The conference committee met Thursday morning for the third time in as many days. Tasked to broker a deal that remained elusive late last year, the hurdles are many and the gulf on how best to pay for the tax cut is still large between the two parties.

Reid said he would remain “patient” but clearly is prepared to offer a backup plan, meaning many long votes in the Senate, if the conference committee fails to strike a deal under deadline.

“In short, hope they get their work done,” Reid emphasized, adding that he would be hopeful it would be a bipartisan bill. “If not, we’re enacting legislation.”

 Adding to the chorus pressuring the committee to work harder was Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“What the heck is going on here?” Schumer asked of the perceived slow-moving committee. “They don’t seem to be moving quickly at all.”

The bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers was chosen by Senate and House leadership after both chambers failed to pass one bill for a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, opting to pass the short two-month deal and leave the larger negotiation to the conference committee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio