Congress Strikes Payroll Tax Deal
Pension, health care issues final sticking points
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 16, 2012 7:35 AM CST
Updated Feb 16, 2012 7:56 AM CST
Max Baucus is seen on Capitol Hill in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Congressional negotiators have reached a deal on a $150 billion economic bill that will extend the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year, while also extending unemployment benefits and preventing an automatic cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursements. Congress could vote on the bill as soon as today, the Washington Post reports, in what White House aides say may be the last significant piece of legislation passed before the election.

The committee signed off on the deal just after midnight, after reaching a compromise requiring new federal workers to contribute more to their pensions. Originally, all federal workers were included, but Maryland Democrat Benjamin Cardin refused to sign off until current workers were protected. The bill also raises $22 billion by selling off part of the wireless spectrum, and scales back unemployment eligibility to 73 weeks in the states hardest hit by the recession, and 63 weeks in healthier ones.

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Feb 16, 2012 9:12 AM CST
Do nothing Senate finally did something. Under Mr. Reid's leadership, the Senate has not passed a budget resolution in three years. It has never voted to extend the payroll tax cut for a full year, which VP Joe says should be Job. No. 1. Nor did it protest controversial recess appts when the Senate clearly was not in recess. Only notable not DO NOTHING-Obama Care-is not pretty, involving Mr. Reid's backroom, notorious vote-buying deals to secure enought votes ot prevent a filibusters, including the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker kickback, not to mention it's unconstitutional. With the exception of ObamaCare and the stimulus, Mr. Ried's energy has been exercised to prevent action, not take it. But meanwhile over in the house 30 pro growth bills languish in Mr. Reids' do nothing Senate, lest the buck be passed to the president's desk. This is just wag the dog.
Feb 16, 2012 8:15 AM CST
AKA They want to finally look productive before the election.