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Roll Call

Jon Kyl: Payroll Tax Cut Should Not Be Extended

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Updated: 11:07 a.m.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said today that he would not support extending the payroll tax cut before the end of this year.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the Arizona Republican argued that continuing a cut in the employee share of the payroll tax would undermine the Social Security system.

The employee share of the tax was dropped from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent this year in an attempt to stimulate the economy, and President Barack Obama has recently called for it to be extended.

But Kyl noted that revenue from the tax supports Social Security.

“The problem here is payroll doesn’t go into general revenue, it supports Social Security, and you can’t keep extending the payroll tax holiday and have a secure Social Security,” he said.

On the same program, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the GOP will face criticism for that position.

“I can’t believe that. ... That the Republican position is they’ll raise the payroll tax on working families?” the Illinois Democrat said. “I think that just defies logic.”

In a separate appearance today on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Pat Toomey indicated that the payroll tax cut may be extended if paired with other changes.

“I think some package of that with other features might very well pass,” the Pennsylvania Republican said.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the payroll tax extension would be the first order of business for Senate Democrats when they return to Congress this week. He added that Democrats would propose paying for the plan with a “small surtax” on incomes of more than $1 million.

“It’s essential we do this,” he said. “We’re going to keep at it and at it and at it because it’s so important for the economy.”

Schumer argued that it would be difficult for Republicans to oppose the plan, noting previous GOP fights in support of the Bush tax cuts. “It’s hard to believe they wouldn’t want to preserve a tax cut for the middle class,” he said.

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