GOP House freshmen hit Senate Republicans for support of tax bill

Several House Republican freshmen condemned their Senate GOP colleagues Monday for supporting a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday.

Some said the 39 GOP senators who voted for the two-month bill showed they were more interested in going on vacation by passing the two-month tax break.

“I personally think that vote had a lot more to do [with] getting out of Washington and going home to spend time with our loved ones, which we would like to do,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.). “But the fact is we have got work to do.”

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Womack and 10 other freshmen held a news conference Monday in which they predicted the Senate bill would be defeated by the House later that night.

“There is no certainty in a two-month policy coming out of Washington, D.C.,” Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) said. “We will stay here as long as it takes to do what’s right for the American people.”

Reed said he was “very troubled” by Senate GOP support for the bill, which was negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said he was “absolutely” disappointed in Senate Republicans for approving the deal.

The freshman members vowed to work through New Year’s Eve to see a year-long tax-holiday extension passed instead.

The Senate approved the two-month extension in an overwhelming 89-10 bipartisan vote.   

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke in favor of the deal during a Saturday conference call with Republicans, but many other members voiced their opposition to the deal.

Boehner’s whip team conferred with members throughout Monday to find out where the conference stands. The Speaker predicted the bill would be rejected, but several Senate Republicans have called on their House colleagues to approve it.

“We believe it will not pass in the House of Representatives tonight,” freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said.He said the House is killing the bill because it creates uncertainty that will do economic harm and because the two-month extension is “going to put us in the exact same spot in February.”

Womack said the payroll tax standoff is a pivotal moment for the freshman class.

“I think it is clear to all of you and it is clear to me that this freshman phenomenon that happened in November 2010 is beginning to flex its muscles a little bit and let its voice be heard about what we believe our job to be when we came to Washington earlier this year,” he said.

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