House-Senate talks on renewing a payroll tax cut that delivers about $20 a week to the average worker yielded a tentative agreement today, with lawmakers hopeful of unveiling the pact tomorrow and sending the measure to President Obama as early as this week. Under the outlines of the emerging agreement, a 2-percentage-point cut in the Social Security payroll tax would be extended through the end of the year, with the nearly $100 billion cost added to the deficit.
Jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed would be renewed as well, with the $30 billion cost paid for in part through auctioning broadcast spectrum to wireless companies and requiring federal workers to contribute more toward their pensions. The payroll tax cut and renewing jobless benefits were key planks in Obama's jobs program, which was announced in September. The payroll tax cut benefits 160 million Americans and delivers a tax cut of about $20 a week for a typical worker making $50,000 a year. People making a $100,000 salary would get a $2,000 tax cut.