Thursday, December 22, 2011
After another tense and dramatic partisan showdown, House Republicans have relented, caving to the demands of President Obama and even some members of their own party to vote on a two-month extension of the payroll tax.
On Tuesday, the House had voted to move the bill into conference, but the Senate had already left town.
What resulted was Washington gridlock with Senate Democrats — who passed the bill in rare bi-partisan fashion — refusing to negotiate further and House Republicans insisting that a year-long extension was the only way to go.
Speaker Boehner said the House would pass the House bill with a couple of minor tweaks. He said he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will ask both chambers to approve the bill through unanimous consent "before Christmas."
The House and Senate can pass the bill through unanimous consent, if no lawmaker objects. In a press conference, Boehner said if a member objects, he would call the House back to Washington to vote on the measure.
If the House approves the measure before the end of the year, it would ensure that about 2 million Americans will continuing receiving long-term unemployment benefits and 160 million Americans would not see a 2-percent payroll tax hike.