The fate of the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefit extension, and Medicare physician fix now hangs on the willingness of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) to work with the House to reach a compromise agreement, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (R-TX31).
"Senator Reid cannot continue to defy the rules of Regular Order by refusing to even negotiate on this bill," says Carter. "The House has passed a payroll tax bill; the Senate has passed a payroll tax bill; Regular Order demands both chambers now appoint conferees and iron out a compromise. The House has done its job on this, while Senator Reid continues to demand his way or no way, and let the nation's workers, unemployed, and physicians be needlessly hammered economically in January. I hope and pray that he will soften his position over the coming days and at least agree to talk. If so, I believe the differences can be worked out in a couple days and we can put this bill to rest."
Carter has led House Republicans during the 112thCongress in calling for a return to Regular Order, in which both chambers pass their version of legislation, then meet in Conference to reconcile their differences before submission of a final conference report to the President.
Carter is calling for a minimum one-year extension on both the payroll tax cut and unemployment extension; two-years on the Medicare docs fix; the Keystone Pipeline provision that has already been approved by the House, Senate, and President Obama; unemployment benefit reforms at the state level, including drug tests for recipients; and that the measure be fully paid for primarily with a federal pay freeze, including Members of Congress.