Sen. Coons explains why Democrats broke off payroll negotiations

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, December 19, 2011 23:20 EDT
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Sen. Chris Coons explained Monday why Democrats had agreed to extend the payroll tax cut for only two months, a compromise that House Republicans are now expected to kill.

House Republicans have said they will reject a compromise struck by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate that would extend the payroll tax cuts and maintain unemployment benefits for two months.

“I find it hard to understand what’s going on in the House on the best of days,” Coons told Countdown host Keith Olbermann.

“From everything I hear, it will likely fail because of the revolt within the Republican Party,” he said.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that his members agreed the payroll tax cut should be extended for a full year. Democrats had originally pushed for a one-year extension and a surtax on millionaires, but agreed to compromise on a short-term extension.

“Let’s be clear, a one-year extension would be better than a two-month extension, and many of us in the Senate Democratic Caucus asked for it. But as Leader Reid walked through with us in detail, all the different riders, the extreme policy positions that were jammed into this bill on the Republican side — we understood why he ultimately broke off trying to negotiate a one-year deal.”

A provision still included in the Senate compromise would speed the approval of construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“It’s got nothing to do with the payroll tax cut extension, but there were a dozen others they tried to jam into this bill at the last moment,” he explained.

Reid has refused to bring back the Senate from its Christmas and New Year vacation.

“We expect that the Senate will be back in session at the end of January negotiating in as good a faith as they can muster with the Republicans in the Senate and the House on how to extend these payroll tax cuts, extend unemployment insurance for the entire year.”

If the payroll tax cut extension is not passed, 160 million Americans could see their taxes go up by $1000.

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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