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House Rejects Senate Bill To Extend Payroll-Tax Cut
CNBC.com | December 20, 2011 | 01:23 PM EST

The GOP-led House rejected a Senate bill to extend the payroll-tax cut for two months, putting the two chambers on yet-another collision course with millions of Americans facing tax increases and cuts in jobless benefits if the dispute is not resolved by year-end.

The House vote Tuesday had been expected, with Republicans calling for a full-year extension of the payroll-tax cut.

Unless Congress acts, 160 million workers on Jan. 1 will see a 2-percentage-point increase in the Social Security payroll tax that is deducted from their paychecks, and benefits for millions of long-term unemployed people will start to expire.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wouldn't renegotiate an extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment coverage unless the House first approved the short-term version the Senate overwhelmingly approved.

"This is a question of whether the House of Representatives will be able to fulfill the basic legislative function of passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan agreement in order to protect the economic security of millions of middle-class Americans," Reid said in a written statement.

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