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GOP Balks at Including Tax Extenders in Conference Committee

Republicans today dismissed Democrats’ proposal to include a package of expired tax extenders in the payroll tax cut conference committee.

Rep. Dave Camp, the co-chairman of the committee, indicated that he does not think the group of about 80 tax provisions should be brought up as the panel looks to extend a payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits and prevent cuts to doctors’ Medicare reimbursements.

“I think that we need to stay within the scope of conference at this time and resolve the issues that are before the conference before we bring new issues forward,” the Michigan Republican said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the conference committee co-chairman, both said Tuesday they would like the group of 20 lawmakers to tackle as many of the tax extenders as possible.

The measures include clean energy tax credits, deductions for tuition expenses, state and local taxes and teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses.

House and Senate staffers from both sides of the aisle will be working over the weekend to lay out what exactly the scope of the committee should be. Camp said Tuesday, at the group’s first meeting, that the panel will use its second meeting on Feb. 1 to narrow down the topics that should be discussed in conference.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), another conferee, said today that Republicans will try to bar the tax extenders from being included, and he said parliamentary procedure is on their side in the matter.

“Without a change in the rules or an acceptance of everybody, you can’t move beyond what’s in the House bill, from a parliamentary standpoint,” Price said. “Things that aren’t in the House bill can’t even be brought to the table to be discussed unless there’s an agreement by all.”

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