House lawmakers are returning to Capitol Hill today to weigh a proposal by GOP leaders to extend the 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax through the end of the year and add the approximately $100 billion cost to the nation's $15 trillion-plus debt instead of finding ways to pay for it.
In the Democratic-majority Senate, a top leader said the proposal was "a major step forward." But other Democrats worried it could jeopardize efforts to renew unemployment benefits for millions of the long-term jobless and efforts to forestall a scheduled cut in fees to doctors who treat Medicare patients.
Those proposals would remain in the hands of a House-Senate
negotiating panel that's looking for spending cuts to defray the deficit impact.