The “naughty” list is getting longer… No, I’m not talking about Amy pinching her brother this morning while getting ready for school. I’m talking about those in Congress who are squabbling over the payroll tax cut extension all while the deadline for keeping the lights on in D.C. creeps closer. The Senate has yet to approve anything related to the extensions or the budget; the House has passed their own version of the payroll tax cut extension which addressed a number of issues (Keystone XL and broadband, for example) but did not include other substantive budget issues.

In fact, despite a deadline that has been looming for a while, we’ve seen little to no actual movement on the budget. If Congress can’t get a bill passed by the end of the day tomorrow, things get serious: the government would not be able to authorize anymore spending and the feds would have to shut down (though not completely).

So what will it take to get things moving? Well, for one, it appears that the Democrats are finally amenable to dropping the so-called “millionaire’s tax” or surtax on those taxpayers making more than $1 million. That had been a major sticking point for Republicans who refused to approve any bill with such a provision. The Democrats are expected to offer another proposal to offset the cost of the payroll tax cut extension; the Republicans have indicated that they will not sign off on any package without a corresponding offset.

So we have just under 38 hours left for Congress to come up with something… Santa – as well as the entire nation – is watching.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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