Michaud, Pingree slam House rejection of payroll tax cut extension

The state’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives blasted the Republican majority's vote Tuesday to block a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

AP File Photos

U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.

The House voted 229-193 to reject a measure that was overwhelmingly passed in the Senate, 89-10, last week. The Senate deal received support from 39 Republicans, including minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who brokered the temporary extension with the Democratic majority.

On Tuesday, after a heated floor debate, the GOP majority in the House spurned the Senate bill amid rhetoric that it wanted a yearlong extension. The vote forces a conference committee between both bodies to negotiate a deal.

However, with the Senate essentially adjourned for the year, the vote brings Congress closer to the deadline that allows the tax cut for 160 million American workers to expire at the end of the year. It also threatens the extension of unemployment benefits.

Those issues were front and center Tuesday for Democrats and Republicans who unloaded familiar rhetorical arguments over a component of President Obama's jobs package.

Democrats accused House Republicans of caving to its tea party freshmen, who rejected the deal because they have consistently opposed short-term spending.

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, in a statement, blamed the outcome on partisanship.

"This brinkmanship is why Americans have such a low opinion of Congress right now," Michaud said in a release. "It's wrong to play political games with these policies that impact millions of American families."

Michaud said he would have preferred a one-year agreement, however, it was "irresponsible of House leadership to work to reject this bipartisan bill. It’s a temporary extension that will provide time to reach a longer-term agreement."

He added, "It’s infuriating how out of touch Congress is right now."

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, anticipated the proposal's defeat. In a release, Pingree said that "tea party Republicans seem determined to block the extension of these important programs at any cost."

"While American families are struggling to make ends meet, the House Republicans are pushing a tax increase that will cost the average family $1,000," she said.

The tax cut in place was part of the Bush tax cuts passed by Congress last year. It reduces the employee portion of the Social Security tax by 2 percent.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the cut has resulted in an average savings of $900 per American household. However, opponents worry that the cut raids the Social Security Fund.


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Jim Cyr's picture

Our own Delegation

doesn't even know the difference between a " tax " and a self funded retirement account! It has never been a " TAX ". Maybe just stealing !

 's picture

Merry X-Mas!

So, the rocket surgeon house republicans voted to give 160 million Americans a tax hike for X-mas. Anybody surprised?

Tim McClure's picture

Yippie ki-yay cow patty, I get two months of tax breaks.

Really? This is upsetting Maine's two Congressmen? So what happens if this would have passed? In two months we get another squabble between the two parties over the same issue. No thanks. You can keep the few bucks I would have had in MY paycheck.

How about some real solutions instead of these quick fixes that aren't even fixes. How about sitting down and working on the enormous debt we have. How about really cutting health care costs. BTW, my healthcare premiums are going up again in January. Thanks ObamaCare.

PAUL MATTSON's picture

It was the liberal Democrat

It was the liberal Democrat Party that rejected the GOP one year extension President Obama desired. The Democrat 2 month extension would throw business and individual accounting into chaos.

PAUL MATTSON's picture

It was the liberal Democrat

It was the liberal Democrat Party that rejected the GOP one year extension President Obama desired. The Democrat 2 month extension would throw business and individual accounting into chaos.

 's picture

the "payroll tax cut" is a

the "payroll tax cut" is a reduction in the amount people would pay into the Social Security cesspool so there would be even less money going into the system and then it would go broke faster. It has been a vote buying scheme for the democrats for years and it is about to come to a halt since we are a broke country.

 's picture


Instead of constantly passing these little extensions, it's time for Congress to fix the problem instead of just keep "kicking the can down the road." I'm part of the 53%. I will accept a tax increase as long as it is part of a plan for substantial decreased spending.

Mike Lachance's picture

Thank God for "tea party

Thank God for "tea party republicans" because the rank and file GOP'ers are spineless, useless, and no better than the dems.

Jason Theriault's picture

Are you nuts?

They got us into this mess. "Spineless"? Why? Because they compromise? If thats the case, why bother having a Congress. Nothing is going to get done, we might as well not bother.

Jim Cyr's picture


Compromise=Spineless !

Mike Lachance's picture

Maybe its time for the Dems

Maybe its time for the Dems to start compromising. Hasnt happened in 40 years. Double standard applied once again.


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