Basically, the Senate thumbed its nose at the concerns of House Republicans and passed the two month extension of the Social Security payroll tax holiday, the extension of unemployment benefits, and the Medicare "doc fix."
This could mean that the Senate will have to come back in session sometime before the first of the year to pass a compromise package.
In a private conference call on Saturday afternoon, rank-and-file House Republicans complained bitterly about the contents of the deal, which would extend through February the president's Social Security tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. The sweetener of a provision requiring the president to expedite consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline wasn't enough to offset the bitterness of a deal that gives the president two more months to pillory Republicans on a tax cut that is one of his most popular policies.
Republican leaders were warned that they could expect a rebellion if lawmakers are forced to vote on the Senate version of the bill, according to a source on the line. After the call, it's not clear whether Republican leaders will try to pass the bill with a combination of Republican and Democratic votes or try another version and bring the Senate back to town. Leadership is expected to reconvene this weekend to talk about how to proceed. The House is coming back into session Monday, the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced Saturday evening.
"Leaders said they held the call to get input from members. The speaker described three possible options - accept Senate bill, go to conference, or amend the Senate bill and send it back," said a GOP aide. "Members are overwhelmingly disappointed in the Senate's decision to just 'kick the can down the road' for two months. No announcement was made regarding the schedule or plans."
Several sources said there was frustration with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for failing to prevent the Senate deal. The Senate passed the bill, 89-10, on Saturday morning.
The House hates to be left out of things and Senator McConnell may have blundered by not keeping Boehner in the loop. But McConnell had his own problems trying to work something out with Reid who, understandably, could care less what the House GOP thinks.
There are a lot of Democrats unhappy with the bill too so it seems probable that the House will amend the legislation and send it back to the senate. What they'll do with the amended bill is anyone's guess but we'll likely see an 11th hour deal again so that benefits don't run out and taxpayers aren't socked with a tax increase the first of the year.