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Payroll tax conference committee meeting for the first time today on Capitol Hill as of February 20 ninth deadline is looming on that up.
Two month tax -- -- -- it turns out extending the tax reduction measures in questions of whether.
Approval of the keystone XL pipeline will be attached to any deal that does result.
Joining us now senator -- -- of Idaho is one of the twenty conferees on the payroll tax conference committee.
Senator -- -- of being here.
Your your reaction to.
To today's meeting and what you accomplished.
-- we had a very good meeting today was the initial meeting where basically all that members.
Stated their positions.
And it was very evident that we have pretty broad agreement on the base.
Need to extend the payroll tax holiday to reform unemployment insurance and to deal with the Medicare -- GR problem that.
Is it is a Medicare issue.
Where we don't have agreement though is whether to pay for it it's sealed the you know what the F borrow money -- -- yet are fiscally responsible.
And so we're gonna have much more difficulty in this conference.
Trying to decide whether we pay for this and have a balanced bill or whether we just run a debt the -- up again.
And put us further and that might you know where I stand on that.
Exactly and and and and -- -- I'd like to understand a little better it it so this is likely not to be a two month tax break that's got to be -- Music to the -- of accountants and the taxpayers everywhere that's right is it going to be a holiday isn't a one -- proposition are you looking at something longer.
You're just I think -- we gonna go with a at this point with regard to the the payroll tax holiday I think -- be extended for ten more months to be one full year of extension.
And the the issue of unemployment benefits were -- there.
Unemployment benefits we'll probably also be extended to the end of the year.
And and the Medicare fix that I talked about will.
Possibly be a very expensive -- if we fix it permanently.
Or it may just be a one or two year fixed.
But the bottom line is we're gonna be battling over how to pay for this and that's the key fight in this conference.
And it's a key fight and it's the key issue that his left there congress and the two parties at loggerheads.
How much how much of this and do you think really has to be resolved.
-- long term are you looking to a short term fix that we'll get you through decision on who will be president and who control the senate.
Is that about the the horizon that you look and -- right now.
I believe on the payroll fix the payroll holiday and -- the unemployment insurance yes.
Neither of those are intended to be long term policies and we always knew that they were short term.
With regard to the doc fix for the Medicare plus many of us want that to be permanent because that's one of the big pieces.
-- much bigger broader fiscal reform package that is needed.
And we need to do that on a permanent.
The president's state of the union -- -- expecting fireworks.
Closer to routine -- Well you know president's always identify the priorities that the country needs to face and I expect President Obama will do that tonight.
And that the on the broad issues of what are our priorities and -- should we focus you probably can't argue with whatever he's going to say it's when you get into the details and many of us expect that the president is going to put out a list of things I'd have demands or expectations.
Were there is a lot of disagreement about whether they will work.
And that the president will probably be pretty aggressive about attacking congress for not doing the things that he wants it to do.
I suppose that the response we'll be every bit as vigorous.
Senator oh yes thanks for being with us senator Mike right --
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