House leadership postponed a vote on the Senate-passed payroll tax cut package, opting to take up the bill Tuesday instead.
House Republicans emerged from a two-hour strategy session unclear whether votes would proceed this evening as originally planned or be delayed. But at a news conference following the meeting, leadership said the vote would take place Tuesday.
Following the meeting, Speaker John Boehner said, “Our Members believe we passed a reasonable, responsible bill ... [and] our Members do not just want to punt.
“We’re here, we’re willing to work, we will appoint conferees and we hope the Senate will appoint conferees,” the Ohio Republican added. “We outright reject the attempt by the Senate to kick the can down the road.”
Members were confident that whenever the votes come, they will dispose of the Senate-passed payroll tax bill and attempt to enter into conference with the Senate.
According to Republicans in attendance, their conference meeting today was partially a pep rally and partially a discussion about strategies moving forward.
GOP leaders pushed for their members to continue to stand firm against the Senate, with Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) at one point telling them, “We are at a point where we have to hold and turn the tables on them.”
Numerous rank-and-file Republicans also harshly spoke out against the deal that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) cut with Democrats, including Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), who quipped, “The piece of manure that they sent over here is not worthy of our consideration” to cheers from her colleagues.
Although many members of the Conference were hoping to wrap up work this evening, Republicans said enough lawmakers raised concerns about voting late at night that leaders decided to vote Tuesday during the day.
Additionally, leadership indicated to Members that it would look to provide them with a way to cast a yes vote Tuesday and not force them to vote against the bipartisan deal. Although at press time it was unclear what that meant, leaders were reportedly discussing using an unorthodox procedure in which they forgo the normal vote on a motion to concur with the Senate deal and simply consider a vote to appoint conferees as counting as disapproval, aides said.
Republicans were also expected to vote on a majority resolution that will be offered after the procedural votes are completed.
That resolution, worded in harshly partisan language, is nothing more than a reiteration of the bill the House passed last week that the Senate changed.
Republicans were unified in maintaining they were simply following regular order.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.