Negotiations are on again to extend the 2011 payroll tax cut until the end of 2012. The House-Senate Conference met on Tuesday — the first time this year — and the road to an agreement appears rocky. Optimism is alive – but there are also some big disagreements to sort through.
Both sides of the discussion agree that a deal must be made before the end of February when the current 2-month extension expires.
Of great interest to us is the question of the other tax extenders. The House of Representative’s payroll tax cut proposal does not include the tax extenders or WOTC. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus are reported to have both suggested today that the Conference should examine the expired tax provisions at this time. (See today’s article in The Hill, scroll down to end.)
Democrats are looking to possibly tuck other provisions into a payroll-tax deal. On Tuesday, Baucus and Reid both suggested that the conference committee examine tax provisions that expired at the end of 2011 — the so-called tax extenders.
On the other hand,
The [House] Ways and Means Committee chairman [Republican Dave Camp] also told reporters after the meeting that conferees should first try to resolve core issues — such as the payroll-tax cut, unemployment benefits and the Medicare “doc fix” — and leave other issues until the end of the negotiations.
“I think initially we need to have a pretty strict scope of conference,” Camp said. “Let’s figure out what we have been tasked with doing.”
Representative Camp is well aware of WOTC and has been the focus of significant lobbying efforts. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Keep your phone and fax machine ready. The conference members need to hear from you.
More from the New York Times.