After meeting for hours Monday evening, House GOP leaders said the lower chamber will vote Tuesday on a Senate-amended version of the House's payroll tax bill that would freeze Medicare physician payments for two months and extend certain healthcare provisions that are set to expire.
House to vote Tuesday on measure that includes two-month freeze on doc pay
“Our members do not want to punt and do a two-month fix and come back and do this again,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a news conference. “We will appoint conferees and hope the Senate will appoint conferees.”
The House Rules Committee will meet tonight to address the issue, and a series of votes will take place tomorrow, including a motion to reject the Senate bill and go to conference, said Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Boehner said earlier that a formal conference would allow the two chambers to resolve differences in the legislation. House leaders are adamant that the payroll tax holiday be extended for a full year, while the Senate approved a 60-day extension.
In a statement Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would not resume negotiations on a yearlong payroll tax holiday until the House passed the Senate's bill, which received strong support in the upper chamber. Both pieces of legislation would avert the 27.4% cut to Medicare physician payments that is scheduled to take place on Jan. 1. But while the House version would fix the sustainable growth rate formula for two years and provide a 1% payment update to the nation's doctors in 2011 and 2012, the Senate bill would freeze payments to physicians until Feb. 29.
“If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in 10 days, 160 million middle-class Americans will see a tax increase, over 2 million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians,” Reid said in a statement earlier Monday.
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