The decisions Washington's put off to 2012

This year in Washington was a bumpy bipartisan ride. Will next year be any different?

Adriene Hill: It's unlikely Congress is making a lot of New Year's resolutions to get along. The payroll tax compromise passed last week is only temporary. So what then?

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer joins us now to look ahead. Good morning, Nancy.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Hey, Adriene.

Hill: So can we expect even more partisanship on Capitol Hill next year?

Marshall-Genzer: Believe it or not -- yes! I'm afraid so. In fact, Adriene, there will probably be even more sniping in Congress next year because it is an election year. The payroll tax extension only resolved things until the end of February. Just to refresh your memory, here are two clips from the House debate last week.

We'll hear first from Louise Slaughter, Democrat of New York, then from Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas.

Louise Slaughter: Will we come together to provide a gift for the American people or will a small group of ideologues let taxes rise and the unemployed go without housing and food as we ring in the new year?

Jeb Hensarling: Are people more interested in making a law that will benefit the American people or are they more interested in making a campaign issue that will benefit their own re-election campaigns? That's the question.

So Adriene, they're not exactly playing nice.

Hill: It doesn't sound like it. What are some of the big fights on the horizon for next year?

Marshall-Genzer: Well, Congress is going to have to decide if it's going to extend that payroll tax cut through the end of the year. There's the issue of unemployment benefits -- which also will expire at the end of February. And cuts in Medicare payments to doctors that were also put off only temporarily.

Hill: Great. Nancy Marshall-Genzer, thank you so much.

Marshall-Genzer:You're welcome.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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