Colorado U.S. Sen. Mark Udall Thursday afternoon said he hopes a deal between House Republicans and Senate leaders to end a payroll tax-cut stalemate signals a new willingness for both parties to work together after the holidays.
“I’m grateful that cooler heads have prevailed and that my House colleagues have ended their political brinksmanship over the extension of the payroll tax cut,” said Udall, a Democrat. “This will come as a big relief for Colorado families who were facing a tax hike starting in just a few days.”
Following the lead of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Republican House leaders caved in to growing pressure and reportedly agreed to a two-month extension of lower payroll tax rates as well as unemployment benefits and Medicare reimbursements.
“Americans have suffered enough from the president’s failed economic policies and shouldn’t face the uncertainty of a New Year’s Day tax hike,” McConnell said a prepared statement Thursday afternoon.
The Senate’s two-month extension passed 89-10 on Saturday, with 39 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. House Republicans overwhelming rejected the deal on Tuesday, insisting the Senate return to Washington and forge a one-year extension.
Unrelenting pressure from Democrats and Senate Republicans forced House GOP members to swallow the Senate deal. The only concession House Republicans got was an agreement that the Senate will appoint members to a House-Senate conference committee to swiftly broker a one-year deal early in 2012.
The two-month extension passed on a voice vote in the House today after passing in the Senate earlier in the day.
“It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world,’’ Boehner said, according to the New York Times. “But let me tell you what: I think our members waged a good fight.’
Udall, who earlier in the day took the opportunity to blast Republican leadership for the crisis — including presidential hopeful Mitt Romney – said the partisanship needs to be dialed down dramatically in the new year.
“I hope this is a turning point for this Congress and that we will finally be able to put aside partisan differences and work together — whether we’re talking about a year-long extension of the tax cut – -or any number of issues important to the American people,” Udall said in a release.