Senate Democrats, already home for the holidays, are ramping up the rhetoric, calling on the House of Representatives via a conference call today to pass the Senate bill that included a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.
"Let me make an offer to Speaker Boehner on behalf of Senate Democrats," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said today. "This can be a way out of the box he's put himself in: If it's really a one-year deal you want … so do we. We'll be the first ones on a plane to work on that one-year deal, but on one condition: The only thing we want is for you to first pass the Senate's two-month agreement."
For the first time, there was the suggestion that if the House passes the two-month deal, then the Senate could potentially come back to Washington next week and work toward a year-long deal.
"If the House GOP won't agree to a two-month deal, how we can believe they'd ever agree to a full year deal in the next 10 days? That's why we want a two-month deal up front," Schumer said. "Pass that, and we can negotiate a longer-term extension right away, and maybe we can have the whole thing done by New Year's."
Democrats are trying to paint this as the House Republicans only option, confident that if the House of Representatives holds a real up-or-down vote on the Senate bill it will pass.
"They are pretty far down a dead-end path right now," Schumer said. "There's not enough time for House Republicans to worry about saving face. They've lost a lot of that already."
Schumer called the House Republicans idea to appoint conferees for a conference committee to negotiate between the House and Senate bills a "charade."
"It's hard to take that idea seriously," Schumer said, "when the speaker's co-called conferees are all opponents of the payroll tax cut."