In a stunning Senate vote last week, Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky lost more than half of his caucus over a $120 billion GOP proposal to pay for extending the payroll tax cuts by cutting the federal workforce and requiring people with higher incomes to pay more for Medicare.
On the House side, GOP leaders are expected to unveil a new proposal for extending the payroll tax cut and other expiring measures at a closed caucus meeting on Thursday. House leaders want to extend both the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, as well as to block mandated cuts in reimbursement rates to physicians serving Medicare patients, the so-called doc fix that Congress has approved for each of the past eight years. All are set to expire on Dec. 31.
House GOP leaders will try again Thursday to rally their caucus to back a new plan. So far, it’s been a tough sell. Most Republicans oppose any move to pay for extending the payroll tax cuts by raising taxes on the highest-income taxpayers. Some GOP lawmakers even resist the notion of extending the payroll tax cut, on grounds that it undermines the long-term stability of Social Security and drives the nation deeper into debt.