I thought you might appreciate the following excerpt from a recent email update I received from WOTC Coalition President Paul Suplizio. Some of this has been reported in the news but Paul’s perspective adds something important. I am re-publishing this with his permission.
In a statement [Monday], Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor said they will no longer require offsets for the $100 billion cost to extend the payroll tax cut to the end of the year, and are preparing a bill that will extend the payroll tax cut separately if the conference reaches no agreement, leaving the conference to continue working on unemployment insurance and Medicare doctors’ payments.
The conference committee is being notified of this new Republican position, which means $100 billion of the total $160 billion cost of the payroll bill would not have to be offset.
The conferees still have time to reach agreement on a total package, but if they don’t the Speaker is free to make the effort to pass a stand-alone bill extending the payroll tax only. This would remove payroll tax as a partisan issue, but the Speaker is likely to need Democratic support because of the roughly ninety Republicans who would not vote to increase the deficit.
Senator Reid is expected to make the extenders part of the bill he has said he will introduce if the conference bogs down. He will have the option to bring it to a vote or attach it to any stand-alone payroll bill that passes the House.
Unemployment compensation and doc fix remain “must do” issues, even if payroll tax is passed separately—thus we continue to work for the tax extenders to be added to HR 3630 in conference.
If $40 billion for tax extenders is added, the total requiring offset would be $100 billion for unemployment insurance, doctors’ fix, and the tax extenders. Democrats are arguing unemployment insurance should not be offset, and a good case can be made for not offsetting the tax extenders.
Comments: The Republican leadership’s concession on not requiring a budget offset to the “cost” of the payroll-tax-cut extension reduces the total amount of offsets needed to pass all of the priority items. One of those priority items is the tax extenders, which will presumably include WOTC.
What this boils down to is that we are likely to at least see legislation soon with tax extenders attached. Whether Congress can pass it, of course, is a separate question. Nothing is certain and the political environment remains volatile.