Boehner Appoints Tea Party Caucus Members to Payroll Tax Conference Committee
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appointed Reps. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) – both members of the House Tea Party Caucus – Tuesday to the payroll tax conference committee, The Hill
Price, chairman of the Policy Committee, and Ellmers, a freshman member, will join Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) on the committee.
The House voted Tuesday 229-193 to establish a bicameral conference to sort out differences between the payroll tax bills passed by the two chambers. The Senate bill would extend the tax cut and other measures for two months to buy time for more negotiations, while the House version would last for a year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are refusing to appoint Democratic conferees and say the House should have an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, which Reid negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and passed 89-10 with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Ellmers and many of her Republican colleagues are urging the Senate to return to Washington to reach a yearlong extension of the tax cut that can pass both chambers.
“Last week we passed a bill here in the House that extends the payroll tax cut for a full year,” Ellmers said in a statement. “The Senate refuses to do the job they were elected to do and is being irresponsible. I urge Senator Reid to do what Speaker Boehner is doing today and name conferees to this committee so we can work out our differences as regular order would require us to do.”
If lawmakers fail to reach a compromise before New Year’s Day, an estimated 160 million working families will receive a 2 percent tax increase amounting to between $800 and $1,500 a year, millions of Americans will lose their unemployment benefits and doctors who treat Medicare patients will see a nearly 28 percent reduction in reimbursement rates.
Chairman Price said working through the holidays is a small price to pay to protect the American people from congressional intransigence.
“Finding common ground on the payroll tax reductions, unemployment benefits, and Medicare physician reimbursement is absolutely essential,” said Chairman Price in a statement. “It is now the responsibility of the Democrat-led Senate to bring their members back and appoint individuals to negotiate with Republicans so that Congress can come to an agreement on a long-term solution and provide certainty to American families, job creators, and physicians.”