WASHINGTON -- Top House Republicans rebelled yesterday against a bipartisan, Senate-approved bill extending payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for two months, reigniting a political holiday-season clash that had seemed all but doused.

The House GOP's defiance cast uncertainty over how quickly Congress would forestall a tax increase otherwise heading straight at 160 million workers beginning New Year's Day.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said it could be finished within two weeks, which suggested that lawmakers might have to spend much of their usual holiday break battling each other in the Capitol.

A day after rank-and-file House GOP lawmakers used a conference call to spew venom against the Senate-passed bill, Boehner said he opposed the legislation and wanted a new, yearlong version.

"The president said we shouldn't be going anywhere without getting our work done," Boehner said on NBC's "Meet the Press," referring to President Barack Obama's oft-repeated promise to postpone his Christmastime trip to Hawaii if the legislation was not finished. "Let's get our work done. Let's do this for a year," he added.

A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House would vote today either to request formal bargaining with the Senate or to make the legislation "responsible and in line with the needs of hardworking taxpayers and middle-class families."

Boehner, though, voiced support for "reasonable reductions in spending" in a payroll tax bill and for provisions that blocked Obama administration anti-pollution rules. Democrats leaped at a chance to champion lower- and middle-income Americans, accusing Republicans of threatening a wide tax hike unless their demands are met.

If Congress doesn't act, workers would see their take-home checks cut by 2 percentage points beginning Jan. 1, when this year's 4.2 percent payroll tax reverts to its normal 6.2 percent.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

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