The Republican-led House blocked the Senate’s two-month extension of a payroll tax cut, jobless aid, and the “doc fix” patch, and called on senators to return to Washington and negotiate a compromise.
The House voted 229 to 193 to disagree with the Senate bill, a procedural motion that denied lawmakers an up-or-down vote on the legislation. The motion refers the legislation to a conference committee for negotiation.
There is little indication that Democrats are willing to appoint conferees to participate in the negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he would not bring the Senate back into session, and he has not backed off that position yet.
Republican leaders have insisted on advancing a one-year package of benefits that would also force President Obama to make a decision on the hotly disputed Keystone XL pipeline. But that rigid position could force the GOP into a difficult corner. If Democrats refuse to reopen negotiations, Republicans will have to decide between allowing an eventual vote to approve the Senate legislation and allowing benefits to expire at the end of 2011.
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