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Government and Politics

Payroll tax fight divides Ohio Republicans
Northeast Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci says deal struck by Republican leadership in House and Senate doesn't apply to him

This story is part of a special series.


The standoff over a payroll tax cut extension has divided Ohio Republicans.

Sen. Rob Portman voted for a Senate plan Saturday that extended the tax cuts and unemployment benefits for two months.

He says he still wants a one-year deal, but thinks a short-term plan may be the most viable option to keep taxes from going up January first.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown agrees. He says the House vote caught him off-guard.

Sen. Brown explains why he thought the payroll tax was a done deal.

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“This was a bipartisan agreement in the Senate. We thought we had the support of the speaker of the house, and the speaker of the house could in turn help to convince his members as speakers usually do. It makes no sense that the House Republicans are playing politics with something that passed overwhelmingly with enthusiastic bipartisan support in the Senate.”

The bill passed the Senate 89 to 10, but Tuesday, House Republicans voted it down.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Renacci says he does not answer to his party leadership in the House or the Senate. In an interview with WHBC today (Wednesday), Renacci said a two month extension would create uncertainty for businesses.

Rep. Renacci says he is more focused on 16th district than party leadership

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“Yea, we will go back in two months and we will debate it again. Let’s fix it. That’s really the key, let’s fix it now. That’s what the American people want. That’s what my district wants. And I don’t care what the Senate wants, I’m more concerned about what my constituents want.”

Renacci says he wants the Senate to return and work out a compromise. Brown says he’s willing to negotiate, but only after the House passes the two-month extension.

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