Senate Dems expect House GOP will soon cave and pass tax bill

Senate Democrats expect House Republicans to cave in and pass a two-month extension of the payroll-tax holiday and unemployment benefits within the next day.

A senior Senate Democratic aide said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not made any concession in the standoff with Republicans.

“They’re going to pass our bill and try to make it seem like there’s some kind of deal,” the aide said. “If they’re signing off on anything, they’re caving and going to pass the bill.”

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The Senate Democratic aide said the House could approve the Senate compromise, which includes a two-month freeze in scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare payments, as early as Thursday evening.

Senate Democratic leaders have yet to hear directly from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he would, in fact, approve the Senate-passed compromise Thursday or Friday.  

A spokesman for Boehner said he could not confirm anything as of 3:40 p.m. Thursday.

Republican sources said the House GOP has planned a conference call with members at 5 p.m. to discuss a possible agreement.

News that House Republicans planned to pass the Senate compromise package, which 39 Senate Republicans supported, leaked to reporters and K Street sources Thursday afternoon.

The Senate Democratic aide said he expected the Senate to re-approve the two-month payroll-tax-holiday package at the next pro forma session.

The House needs to create a new legislative vehicle for the Senate-passed compromise because House lawmakers voted earlier this week to send the previous version of the bill to a conference committee.

Russell Berman contributed.

—Last updated at 4:04 p.m.