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Senate Republicans call on House to pass payroll tax cut extension

At least two Senate Republicans today are calling on their House counterparts to pass the temporary payroll-tax-cut extension, a measure that passed the Senate 89-10, but conservatives in the House and Speaker John Boehner have said they reject.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) called on Boehner and House Republicans to pass it tonight.

"He's obviously under a lot of pressure," Lugar told NBC's Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports. "I’m hopeful that … they will proceed," he added, going on to call it “best for the country.”

Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, who, like Lugar, is running for re-election in 2012, called House Republicans "irresponsible and wrong" for planning to vote down the Senate's two-month payroll-tax-cut extension.

Brown said in a statement that the two month extension a good deal if it means taxes won't go up for American families.

Here's Brown's full statement:

"The House Republicans' plan to scuttle the deal to help middle-class families is irresponsible and wrong. I appreciate their effort to extend these measures for a full year, but a two-month extension is a good deal when it means we avoid jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of American families. The refusal to compromise now threatens to increase taxes on hard-working Americans and stop unemployment benefits for those out of work. During this time of divided government, both parties need to be reasonable and come to the negotiating table in good faith. We cannot allow rigid partisan ideology and unwillingness to compromise stand in the way of working together for the good of the American people."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's office, however, noted that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted against the extension. Manchin said his opposition is because the payroll tax is what funds Social Security. He is also up for reelection, and President Obama is very unpopular in the state.

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Libby Leist reports that another Republican senator has come out calling for the House to pass the temporary extension. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) said in a statement:

"There is no question we need to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the entire year. The American people deserve long-term, forward-thinking policies. However, there is no reason to hold up the short-term extension while a more comprehensive deal is being worked out. What is playing out in Washington, DC this week is about political leverage, not about what's good for the American people. Congress can work out a solution without stopping the payroll tax cut extension for the middle class, jeopardizing seniors' access to health care, or threatening unemployment insurance."