U.S. House Sends Payroll Tax Cut and UI Benefits Bill Back To Conference
December 20, 2011 – The United States House of Representatives just voted to send the so-called “tax extenders” bill (extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits) back to a conference committee for further consideration. This action will allow further consideration of the package, but could also endanger passage. Several Democrat Representatives expressed unwillingness to delay the vote on the bill, which could delay travel plans for Representatives that are trying to return home for the Christmas holiday. In fact, Congressman Cleaver announced he was going home, regardless of the action taken by the House. The House Speaker issued a statement in support of additional conference work on the bill. And, not unexpectedly, the President issued a statement asking the House to pass the Senate version of the bill.
There has been much conversation in recent weeks over the package. The House included quick consideration of the Keystone XL project in the package. President Obama responded by saying he would veto the bill if it reached his desk containing that provision, but then said on Friday he supported the Senate version of the bill that includes the Keystone XL language. The language only requires the President to issue a permit for the project unless he believes the project is not “in the national interest.”
Earlier, the House passed a version of the bill that would have extended the payroll tax cut for a full year, but the Senate version that was rejected by the House today would only have extende the cut for two months.
Other issues contained in the bill include the extension of Medicaid payments to health care providers and extension of the 100% bonus depreciation.