10:47am

Wed February 15, 2012
All Politics are Local

McConnell Mum Over Payroll Tax Cut Plan

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to endorse a plan by the House GOP to extend the payroll-tax holiday for the remain of the year without paying for it. After months of partisan gridlock that resulted in a short-term extension set to expire February 29, GOP leaders in the House have yielded by offering to vote on the 2 percent tax relief as a stand alone bill.

The sudden compromise from the Republican-controlled House would add the cost of the extension to the debt and has surprised many political observers. The trade off would be a continued debate over additional unemployment benefits and legislation to prevent lowering fees paid to doctors by Medicare.

McConnell told reports Tuesday he didn’t “have a view on it right now.”

From The Hill:

McConnell had told reporters last week that Congress should not extend the 4.2 percent payroll-tax rate for the rest of the year by adding to the estimated $1.3 trillion federal deficit for 2012.

(SNIP)

“So there’s a high level of frustration within the conference, and I think diminishing optimism about the chances of the conference functioning,” he added. “So I can understand why the House leadership, exasperated with the lack of progress in the conference, is looking around at other alternatives.”

McConnell said last week that the payroll-tax cut should be paid for.

“We’ve added 43 percent to the national debt in the last three years,” he said. “We now have a debt the size of our economy, which looks a lot like Greece. At what point do we anticipate getting serious here about doing something about deficit and debt?”

House Democratic leader are reportedly considering the compromise.