Will Congress Come Together on Payroll Tax Cut Extension?



PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm calling on the speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: he appealed to you personally and said, I need John Boehner to help out and...

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I need the president to help out, all right?




CAVUTO: That almost made it looked like the president walked out on Boehner. Of course, he didn't.

But, anyway, he said/he said, nothing done.

To New York Congressman Tom Reed, who says nothing yet, because he's willing to work right through the holidays to get a deal payroll tax cut deal done. But, Congressman, I guess the devil will be in the details and going beyond this two-month thing.

And I was wondering along with you, as I was with Gretchen, whether you guys have lost the PR here, trivial though it may seem. Most Americans are seeing you guys as being obstructionists here. I know you're against this whole payroll tax cut extension, be it two months or a year. But do you think that the two-month thing isn't registering, that people just don't know that’s your beef, that this has gotten to be a repeated game?

REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: Well, you know, Neil, what I would say is this, that we're here to do the job.

I have been named as one of the conferees on the conference that we set in the House to work out the differences. We have 11 days to get this done. And what I will say is that we're going to do the work, regardless of the political implications, because the American people deserve better.

They need us to lead in Washington. And that's why we're staying here. We're going to get it done and we are going to get a long-term solution that people can rely on.

CAVUTO: All right, you are on this committee. But the Senate, I understand, sir, has left. Right? Harry Reid could reconvene the Senate, but that's unlikely. Maybe it could happen. So who are you talking to?

REED: Well, right now, we're just waiting on Harry Reid and the Senate to name their conferees.

And like you said, with the stroke of a pen, Harry Reid can have the senators come back here and do work. And I understand it's the holidays. I would love to be home with my family. But I'm going to be here in Washington doing the work for the American people because that's what they deserve. And that’s what they sent us here to do in November.

CAVUTO: All right. So, but you are on this conferee committee or whatever, but you have no one to meet with right now. And if he doesn't, that is, Harry Reid doesn’t call the Senate back, you have nothing to do.

REED: Well, what we have is we are going to do the work on our side and just come up -- go through the proposal that the Senate put out there, see where the disagreement is. We'll do the work for the other side if they don't want to participate in it.

But obviously to pass the bill, we will need the Senate to come back and do that. And they need to do it.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, you have serious qualms about putting Social Security on the table and doing this year after year, that it gets back to whether this is wise to do, period, whether it's two months or a year, right?

REED: I have concerns about that.

But ultimately I do believe that lowering tax burdens on small business America, hardworking Americans is good policy. And that's why I'm willing to absorb this because in 2013 we are going to have to deal with the tax rates for everyone. And that's where I think we can go long-term stability tax reduction that doesn't threaten Social Security.

CAVUTO: But in your gut, sir, does it look like you are going to be working through Christmas?

REED: I'll be here.


REED: And I just call on my colleagues in the Senate, let's do the work. Just come on back and just get it done. And we can get it done for all America.

CAVUTO: How does your family feel about that?

REED: Obviously, they want me home. But I have -- and I have a 11- and a 13-year-old at home. And I'd love to be there Christmas morning.

But the bottom line is this. They understand the sacrifice we are doing is for the future of America. And this is just the initial battle of the many battles to come. And we're just going to do what needs to be done, and that's do the work.

CAVUTO: Any in-laws who are ticked off at you?


REED: Yes, I would rather not comment upon that, but bottom line is...


CAVUTO: All right. I hear you. What happens in Washington -- I hear you -- stays in Washington.

Congressman, very good having you. Good luck. I hope it doesn't get to that...


REED: Amen.

CAVUTO: ... for your sake and your in-laws' sake. Congressman, thank you.

REED: Merry Christmas to you.

CAVUTO: Merry Christmas to you.

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