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Pelosi appears to back stand-alone payroll tax cut

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested House Democrats will support the stand-alone extension of the payroll tax cut that is not offset with cuts or revenue increases elsewhere. 

"The House has voted twice overwhelmingly to instruct the Conference Committee to complete all of its work by this Friday, February 17," Pelosi said. "The House Republican leadership plans to bring to the floor a stand-alone payroll tax cut extension bill tomorrow. We have long proposed bringing this tax cut to the floor without payfors and House Democrats will support it so that taxes are not raised on 160 million working Americans."

Yet Pelosi added that "this should not be a substitute for the work of the conference committee" that is trying to hammer out a compromise.

And she called on Republicans to cancel the recess scheduled for next week if work is not done to also extend unemployment insurance and the Medicare "doc fix":

"We continue to call upon the conferees to resolve the remaining issues - extending unemployment benefits and ensuring seniors continue to see their doctors under Medicare - by February 17th. If the conference committee is unable to complete its work on a comprehensive bill by that date, the Republican leadership should cancel the recess and remain in Washington next week. These crucial policies  affect millions of middle class families and seniors and must not expire at the end of this month."

Meanwhile, in a pen-and-pad session with reporters, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would not predict how this payroll tax cut extension would play out. He was pleased House Republicans have "retreated" on their position that the tax cut be paid for, and he said Democrats would continue to push for agreement on extending unemployment benefits and the so-called "doc-fix" payments to Medicare doctors.

Schumer was asked specifically whether the Senate would pass a payroll tax cut extension sent over from the House -- without attaching unemployment insurance and the "doc fix."

But he wouldn't commit to that, saying that discussions are still taking place among the conference committee, House Republicans, and House Democrats.