The House passed the payroll tax cut bill Tuesday night in a 234-193 vote. The bill contains a provision that would extend the current pay freeze on civilian federal employees for another year.
President Obama has vowed to veto the bill because it includes a requirement to construct an oil pipeline. There is also strong opposition to the bill in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid is holding up a government spending bill until both sides can negotiate a compromise on the tax cut extension which is fueling concerns about a possible government shutdown.
When asked about the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of the week, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Congress might need to pass a short term spending measure to prevent a shutdown in the event that both parties fail to reach agreement on the unresolved issues.
Whitehouse Spokesman Jay Carney also acknowledged that a short term continuing resolution would be a possible solution in the interim to provide more time to work out a compromise on the payroll tax extension.