Another legislative standoff looms

Democrats say they'd make Republicans regret leaving for Christmas without a deal on extending the payroll tax holiday.

Congress moved closer to another legislative standoff on Wednesday, with Senate Democrats warning that a House Republican threat to leave for Christmas without a deal on extending an employee payroll tax holiday, would backfire politically. Senate Democrats and President Obama will remain in town until the extension passes, and would use the time against absent Republicans, Senate Democratic leaders warned in a news conference.

"We will make sure we pass this tax cut for the middle class and we are not going to go home until we make sure it's complete," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. "We can do it the easy way or we can do it the hard way." With House Republicans struggling to align behind a bill to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, GOP aides said the House might adjourn by Dec. 16 with no deal if Democrats don't compromise. Democrats want to prevent House leaders from trying such a move by threatening dire political results for the GOP. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will keep the Senate in through Christmas or New Year's Day if needed. Reid said Obama, in a meeting with the leaders earlier on Wednesday, pledged to put off a vacation until Congress finishes its business. Reid, paraphrasing, said Obama told the leaders "Michelle and the girls will have a great time in Hawaii;they don't need me."