House begins debating payroll tax cut

December 20, 2011 - 10:50 AM

House Speaker John Boehner at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, as Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., listens at right. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has started debating a Republican proposal that rejects a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits that the Senate passed last weekend with strong bipartisan support.

House Republicans favor a year-long version of the bill. The Democratic-run Senate has left Washington for the holidays, but House GOP lawmakers want the Senate to return and negotiate a compromise bill.

Without an agreement, payroll taxes paid by 160 million workers and jobless benefits that support the long-term unemployed will expire Jan. 1.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the Senate won't negotiate until the House approves the shorter bill.