House: Vote to Create Conference Committee on Extending the Payroll Tax Holiday

Below we use Optimal Classification (OC) in R to plot the House‚Äôs vote to reject the Senate’s two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and instead set up a conference to work out an agreement between the two chambers to extend the payroll tax cuts for one year. The payroll tax cut is currently set to expire on December 31, 2011. The measure passed the House by a 229-193 margin, with all House Democrats and seven House Republicans–Reps. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Frank Wolf (R-VA)–opposing the motion.

The seven Republican defectors are among the more ideologically moderate members of their caucus, and OC performs well in producing only three classification errors with a PRE (proportional reduction in error) of 0.98.

The vote puts Washington in a partisan standoff on the payroll tax cuts. Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid D-NV, have vowed to stick by the Senate’s two-month version of the extension. Sen. Reid has stated that he will not appoint members to the conference committee, which would face a quick deadline with the payroll tax holiday set to expire on December 31.

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