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Congress Passes Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Extension

By Doug Powers  •  December 23, 2011 11:49 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

The measure that was agreed upon yesterday passed this morning by unanimous consent:

The U.S. Congress passed a two-month payroll tax cut extension eight days before its scheduled expiration after House Republicans dropped their objections under growing political pressure.

The plan will go to President Barack Obama for his signature. It would extend a two-percentage-point payroll tax cut, continue expanded unemployment benefits and head off a reduction in Medicare payments to doctors through February. Lawmakers plan to negotiate on a longer-term extension in the new year.

“I hope this Congress has had a very good learning experience, especially those who are newer to this body,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters after his chamber’s action today. “It seems that everything we’ve done this past year has been a knock-down, drag-out fight. There is no reason to do that.”
The deal that House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, and Reid, a Nevada Democrat, agreed to yesterday also calls on Obama to accelerate approval of the Keystone XL Canadian oil pipeline.

President Obama will sign it soon, if he hasn’t already, and then it’s off to Hawasia tout de suite:


**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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