U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says the speaker of the House of Representatives has lost control. Durbin points to the speaker not calling a bill for a vote that would extend unemployment benefits and a payroll tax credit for two months. Republicans had wanted a full-year extension on both, but Durbin says they couldn’t come to a bi-partisan agreement in the Senate. He says the shorter agreement received bi-partisan support in the Senate.
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“Unless the House acts, this program will expire in just two weeks, devastating millions of families across America at a time when they need help,” Durbin said Tuesday in Chicago. He says House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) must call the package for a vote. “John Boehner has lost control of the House of Representatives,” Durbin said. “Speaker Boehner is unable or unwilling to do the things that are necessary to keep this economy moving forward. He cannot say no to some of the more radical members of the House Republican caucus, and because he goes along with them we find ourselves in this impossible position.” Durbin says that if unemployment benefits are lost and the payroll tax credit goes away Jan. 1, the ripple effect will upset the fragile economy. Durbin says 58,000 Illinoisans would lose their unemployment benefits in January if an extension is not enacted, and 160 million workers across the nation would see a $1,000 per year tax hike come out of their paychecks. Payroll taxes would rise to 6.2 percent from the current rate of 4.2 percent.