Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reacted angrily to Speaker John Boehner's comments Sunday that a bipartisan payroll-tax package approved in the Senate this weekend was dead on arrival in the House.
Reid negotiated the deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last week, after Boehner departed the talks in the middle of last week, challenging the Senate leaders to produce a plan. The two-month extension of the payroll tax break and unemployment benefits that resulted from those negotiations sailed through the Senate 89 to 10 on Saturday.
By seeking to reopen the Senate compromise, Boehner is trying to force Reid and Senate Democrats to negotiate twice.
“When we met last week, Speaker Boehner requested that Senator McConnell and I work out a compromise. Neither side got everything they wanted, but we forged a middle ground that passed the Senate by an overwhelming bipartisan majority," Reid said in a statement.
Reid's statement did not suggest any openness to a conference committee to iron out the two chambers' differences, which Boehner floated on NBC's Meet the Press.
“If Speaker Boehner refuses to vote on the bipartisan compromise that passed the Senate with 89 votes, Republicans will be forcing a thousand-dollar tax increase on middle class families on January 1st,” Reid said.