Legislation to extend the payroll-tax holiday, reduce and extend unemployment benefits, and avoid a 27 percent cut to Medicare doctor reimbursement passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 234 to 193.
The legislation, which passed with just 10 Democratic votes, will head to the Senate where a vote is expected later this week. Leadership aides in the Senate said they expect the GOP-drafted legislation to fail when it reaches the Senate floor.
Leaders in both the House and the Senate have agreed to extend the programs in the GOP legislation, but the fight still continues over the size of the unemployment program, the future of the Keystone XL pipeline, and how to pay for the package. Democratic objection to the House-passed bill led to an official veto threat from President Obama on Tuesday.
Senate Democrats are expected to offer an alternative plan later this week that will include some version of the proposed millionaire surtax as a budget offset, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. He said the Senate Democratic legislation will include some reforms to the federal unemployment-benefits system without slashing the length of benefits. He also said it will include about $35 billion in tax extenders that benefit businesses, teachers, and individuals.