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GOP's Lugar: House should pass tax bill for the good of the country

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) on Monday said House Republicans need to pass the Senate's two-month extension of the payroll tax cut for the good of the country.  

"I'm hopeful there are a majority of Republicans and Democrats today who will proceed, because it seems to me this is best for the country, as well as for all the individuals who are affected," Lugar said Monday on MSNBC.  

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House Republicans have vowed to kill the tax-cut legislation that sailed through the Senate Saturday in an 89-10 vote. The Senate adjourned for the year after passing the legislation.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted the House would vote down the two-month bill Monday evening and instead form a conference committee to work out a year-long extension of the tax cut.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) quickly rebuffed Boehner and said he would not reopen the negotiations until House Republicans pass the Senate bill. 

Lugar said Boehner is under "enormous pressure" to reject the deal that Reid negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He said some House Republicans would prefer to see the extension of the tax cut and unemployment benefits scrapped altogether. 

"Speaker Boehner is under enormous pressure. He's obviously gotten a lot of feedback from many Republicans who say we just simply don't like it. As a matter of fact, many Republicans would say we don't really want the extension of the unemployment compensation or the rest of it, anyway," Lugar said. 

Lugar became the second Senate Republican Monday to urge approval of the two-month package. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who faces a tough reelection fight from Democrat Elizabeth Warren, said it would be "irresponsible and wrong" for House Republicans to "scuttle" the Senate plan. 

Like Brown, Lugar is facing a tough reelection bid in 2012.