By Daniel Strauss - 12/19/11 04:54 PM EST
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) ripped House Republican efforts to "scuttle" a two-month payroll tax cut extension deal made by the Senate leadership as "irresponsible and wrong."
He also said it would lead to higher taxes on workers and families and reflected a refusal to compromise.
Brown's comments are the first criticisms of House GOP leaders on the tax cut fight by a Republican.
"The House Republicans’ plan to scuttle the deal to help middle-class families is irresponsible and wrong," Brown, who faces a difficult reelection campaign this year in deep-blue Massachusetts, said in a statement Monday.
"I appreciate their effort to extend these measures for a full year, but a two-month extension is a good deal when it means we avoid jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of American families," Brown added.
"The refusal to compromise now threatens to increase taxes on hard-working Americans and stop unemployment benefits for those out of work. During this time of divided government, both parties need to be reasonable and come to the negotiating table in good faith," Brown continued. "We cannot allow rigid partisan ideology and unwillingness to compromise stand in the way of working together for the good of the American people."
Republicans say the two-month extension just kicks the question of the tax cut down the road. They want to extend it for a year, but disagree with Democrats over how to pay for the cost of the extension.
The deal reached by Senate Democrats and Republicans was meant to buy more time for talks next year, but it now appears it will be killed by the House. This increases the likelihood that the tax will go up in January.
Republicans say the Senate should end its vacation and come back to Washington to work out a deal to extend the tax cut for a full year. They point out that President Obama wants the tax cut extended for a year.
Brown's Democratic opponent next year is likely to be Elizabeth Warren, a hero to liberals who has already proven to be a strong fundraiser.
In 2010, when Brown won the special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D), he promised he wouldn't' be afraid to buck his own party at times.