Reid: McConnell blocking vote on House bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lashed out at House Republicans on Tuesday night saying their pay roll tax cut extension bill was a  "pointless partisan exercise" that has no chance of passage in the upper chamber. Reid added that his Senate Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denied the Senate a chance to defeat the measure at once.

"The bill just passed by House Republicans is a pointless partisan exercise," Reid said. "The bill is dead on arrival. It was dead before it got to the Senate. The Senate will not pass it. The sooner we demonstrate that, the sooner we can begin serious discussions on how to keep taxes from going up for middle class Americans."

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Reid went on to accuse McConnell of making an about-face by denying Democrats their demand for a vote on the measure Tuesday night. 

"Democrats were ready to vote tonight to prove the bill was DOA, dead on arrival," said Reid.  "I spoke with Minority Leader McConnell this evening and he told me he needs more time."

"[T]his is a 180 degree change in his position from just a few hours ago," Reid said. "Just this morning Sen. McConnell said we should quote ''take the House bill, pass it right here in the Senate and send it to the president for a signature without theatrics and without delay.'"

"I can only wonder what happened in the last eight hours to change his position so dramatically, so radically," Reid said.

The payroll tax holiday alternative bill put forth by McConnell was rejected by most Senate Republicans earlier this month.