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Kent Conrad: Payroll Tax Compromise Coming

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Sen. Kent Conrad said today that Senate Democrats will propose a compromise to extend the payroll tax cut and a plan to pay for it Monday.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the North Dakota Democrat punted on the details, saying the plan will be put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“Uh, he will offer it at that point; I don’t think it’s probably in my purview to announce his plan,” Conrad said.

The employee portion of the payroll tax, which funds Social Security, was reduced from 6.2 to 4.2 percent under a law enacted last December. Competing Democratic and Republican plans to extend the tax cut another year failed in the Senate last week.

A big issue is how to pay for the tax cut extension. Asked a second time by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Conrad again punted to Reid on the question.

“Again, I think it’s up to him to define his plan, to discuss his plan. But it will be paid for. It’ll be paid for in a way that is credible and serious,” the chairman of the Budget Committee said. “It will represent a compromise from what was voted on last week.”

Appearing on the same show, Sen. Tom Coburn called the two votes on extending the tax cuts Thursday “pure politics” and said Americans want “real solutions” instead of a “charade.”

The Oklahoma Republican objected to Democratic plans to pay for the tax cut with a surtax on millionaires.

“The principle that you would in fact create a tax cut and then say you’re going to pay for it over 10 years is exactly why we’re bankrupt as a nation,” Coburn said from his home in Oklahoma. “To take 10 years to pay for it is ridiculous.”

Still, Conrad said that extending the tax cut was “good economic policy.”

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), however, said she would not support extending the tax cut, which she voted against last year.

She argued that the policy has not created any jobs while putting a “hole” in the Social Security trust funds.

“Why would we continue a policy that doesn’t work?” she asked.

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