Cantor to Dems: House will vote on 'your tax hike' next week

The two spoke soon after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised that the GOP would allow the Democratic bill to come up, even as Republicans are pursuing their own bill.

The GOP bill, H.R. 8, would extend all Bush-era tax levels for another year. In contrast, the Senate bill that passed this week, S. 3412, would extend current tax levels for everyone except individuals earning more than $200,000 a year, or families earning more than $250,000 a year.

Hoyer did not say specifically that Democrats would propose the Senate bill as an amendment to the GOP bill, but strongly implied it. He said he was interpreting Cantor's remarks to mean that, "if we choose to offer as an amendment the bill that passed the Senate, which ensures that there will be no tax increase on 98 percent of Americans, that we will be allowed to offer that bill."

Since the Senate approved a bill reflecting the Democratic plan by a 51-48 vote on Wednesday, Democrats have said the only thing standing in the way of extending the lower middle class tax rates is the House.

But the House is certain to pass the GOP bill extending all the tax rates, setting up a possible House-Senate conference on the bill, and a certain political fight over taxes for the rest of the year.

On other issues, Hoyer pressed Cantor on whether the House would soon pass a farm bill, as the Senate has already done. But Cantor said only that the Senate bill would not pass the House, and that Republicans are still working on a bill.

Hoyer also asked whether any progress could be made soon to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). But as other Republicans have pointed out, Cantor noted that the Senate-passed VAWA reauthorization bill includes a revenue measure that did not originate in the House, and said the Senate needs to pass another bill before a conference can happen.

"The Senate bill is unconstitutional, because it contains a revenue measure in it. So we're unable to get to conference with the Senate," Cantor said. "They need to produce a bill so that we can go to conference."

When Hoyer suggested that the House could drop the Senate bill into a House bill and pass it, Cantor said the Senate bill "can't pass the House." Democrats have said the Senate bill is better because it would better protect Indians and LGBT people, but Republicans have said their bill offers protection for all women, and that the Senate bill would increase the deficit.

Finally, Hoyer also pushed Cantor on whether the House might pass a postal reform bill. Cantor again said that a Senate-passed bill could not pass the House, and said he is working with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on a bill that ensures the U.S. Postal Service avoids default.

Cantor also noted that the USPS is at no risk of default in the short term.

The House adjourned for the week shortly after Cantor and Hoyer spoke, and will hold its next votes on Tuesday.