Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after the House voted to formally request a Conference with the Senate to work out differences between the two versions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 3630):
"The President asked for a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut. We in the House passed a one-year bill because taxpayers and job creators deserve and demand more than a temporary, 60-day fix and shouldn't have to wonder if their taxes will increase in the new year. But the Senate only passed a two-month extension and promptly left town. I would prefer to be home working in Arkansas, but the House is in session because we're focused on finding a solution. I am confident the Senate will do the right thing and join us to work out our differences in Conference."
Last week, the House passed the bipartisan H.R. 3630, which would extend the current payroll tax rates and provide unemployment insurance for a full year. It would also protect seniors' access to physicians for two years and force the President to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline within 60 days of enactment. On Saturday, the Senate passed an amendment to H.R. 3630. Unlike the House-approved version of H.R. 3630, the Senate amendment would only extend the payroll tax and unemployment insurance provisions through February 29, 2012.
Today, the House called for a Conference with the Senate, where Members from each Chamber would work out differences between the two versions. It is now up to the Senate to pass a similar resolution.
On Saturday, President Obama reaffirmed his desire for a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut: "[I]t would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year." In addition, 16 governors recently sent a letter to Congress urging a full year extension for unemployment benefits. The House version is the only one that does so.
Numerous pro-business organizations have criticized the Senate's two-month extension, saying it would be costly and cumbersome for job creators to comply with such a temporary tax policy.