Democratic senators and their aides say House Speaker John Boehner must allow a bipartisan, two-month extension to the payroll tax cut to pass before they’ll return to Washington to negotiate an extension through the rest of the year.
On MSNBC Monday morning, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the third ranking Dem in the Senate, left Boehner an unkind choice.
“Speaker Boehner has two choices and there are only two,” Schumer said. “The first is to pass the bill, the bipartisan bill, that the Senate passed 89-10 — vast majority of Republicans, lot of tea party guys voted for it. The second is the middle class tax cut will lapse and he will be responsible.”
Under intense pressure from his caucus, Boehner and his leadership team are whipping against the bipartisan, Senate-passed bill, and it’s expected to fail on the House floor Monday night. Democrats are seizing political high ground while they can, but it’s unclear what happens after tonight’s vote — if Dems hold their ground and try to force Boehner to hold a re-vote, or if they come back to the table.
“[W]hat I’d suggest is he bring it to the floor tonight, he will — don’t twist arms,” Schumer said. “Just let the chips fall where they may. Let the members vote their conscience. He’ll get just about every Democrat to vote for it, he’ll get plenty of Republicans to vote for it, and it’ll be off his shoulders.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.