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House rejects payroll-tax deal. Is it now dead?

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President Obama called on House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio to “put politics aside,” reverse course, and bring the Senate bill back to the floor for an up-or-down vote.

House GOP leaders did not structure today’s vote as up-or-down on the Senate bill. Lawmakers had the option to vote “yes” or “no” on rejecting the Senate bill and going to conference. They did not have the option of supporting the Senate bill.  

If they had, Democrats would have needed 26 Republicans to break ranks in support of the bill and send it to the Oval Office for the president’s signature.

“Our failure to do this could have effects not just on families but on the economy as a whole,” President Obama told reporters at a surprise White House briefing after the House vote.

In response, Mr. Boehner called on the president to “show real leadership” and pressure Senate Democrats to return to Washington to negotiate a new bill before these measures expire on Jan. 1.

"There's no reason we can't solve this in short order," he said at a press briefing after the vote. "Our negotiators are here, ready, and able to work.”

After Tuesday’s vote, Boehner named eight House Republicans to serve on the proposed conference committee, which may never meet. House GOP leaders and conferees plan to be available in Washington through the holidays.   

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