House Republicans try to fend off critics amid payroll tax fight

"If it can be done after the holidays why not before."

Instead of taking up a backstop two-month extension passed by the Senate on Saturday, House leaders opted to oppose the measure and appoint conferees. 

That decision has isolated the House GOP, which now faces high hurdles in their plan to force a conference with the upper chamber. 

Still, Republicans including Brady stuck to their talking points, saying it would be a "lonely Christmas and New Years" if the other leaders don't appoint conferees.

"Not one Democratic senator is willing to put off vacation to make sure the tax cut is in place," Brady said. 

House Republicans have, so far, said their only plan is to force other congressional leaders to send conferees to the table although none budged on Wednesday. 

Democrats want House GOP leaders to cave and let the two-month extension go through all the while Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Brady argued that a deal could be struck quickly, especially under the extreme pressure of a year-end deadline. 

Brady, who has expressed concern about a payroll tax extension and has said that temporary tax tinkering isn't his cup of tea, told reporters Wednesday that he shown consistent support for the tax cut by voting for the House-passed payroll tax measure — a bill that didn't have enough support to pass the Senate — and the original tax holiday, which was part of the package that extended all of the Bush-era tax cuts a year ago. 

"No one believes the two-month extension is the solution," he said. 

Brady's reservations centered around the tax cut siphoning money from the Social Security trust fund and that the House GOP bill shored up those worries. 

Meanwhile, President Obama urged Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to pass the two-month bill while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent letters to the House GOP leader on Wednesday urging him to reconvene the lower chamber and approve the Senate’s bipartisan compromise “as soon as possible” to avoid a middle-class tax increase and the expiration of unemployment benefits and the Medicare "doc fix" on Jan. 1. 

"I am fully confident that we can work out our differences and find common ground on a year-long extension. But in the meantime, families should not have to worry that they will wake up to a tax increase on Jan. 1," Reid wrote. 

House Republicans weren't getting any help from their counterparts in the Senate, either as GOP aides said they were "on their own" and had bungled the entire process. 

“The short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle-class families aren't hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full-year solution,” the president said to Boehner, according to a readout provided by the White House.

According to a Boehner aide, the Speaker asked Obama on the call to push Reid to appoint conferees to negotiate a year-long extension of the tax cut.

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