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Lawmakers Try Again For Compromise On Payroll Tax

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Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is frustrated that Republicans are playing politics with the payroll tax.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is frustrated that Republicans are playing politics with the payroll tax.

After the Senate defeated two partisan proposals to extend a payroll tax break last week, some of the region’s lawmakers are renewing the push for a compromise measure. 

Republicans rarely face a tax cut they don't like, but that didn't stop them from helping defeat the payroll tax break extension last week. One point of contention is how to pay for the payroll tax breaks, but even Sen.  Ben Cardin (D-Md.) says he isn't seeing Republicans bargain fairly. 

"They're trying to have it both ways," Cardin says. "They're trying to say they support this, but they won't support any of the offsets and they won't support it without offsets."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to unveil a compromise measure later today, according to Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Republicans are already wary of that, however, because they say they weren't invited to negotiate it. 

To add to the difficulties surrounding the bill, even some Democrats are wary of continuing the tax break, because those tax revenues usually go to pay for Social Security. Cardin agrees, but says families in the region need any little boost they can get. 

"This has got to be temporary," he says. "I have the same concerns, the problem is we’re still in this downturn in the economy. We have to offset it. We have to have the revenues to make sure it goes into the Social Security Trust Fund. But this has to be temporary." 

If the payroll tax break isn't extended, middle class families will have to pay approximately $1,000 more in taxes next year. 


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