Congress Sends Payroll Tax Cut to Obama's Desk

House, Senate easily approve extension

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 17, 2012 11:41 AM CST

(Newser) – No last-minute Capitol Hill surprises: Congress today passed legislation renewing a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more, backing the main items on President Obama's jobs agenda in a rare burst of Washington bipartisanship. The Senate approved the $143 billion measure by a 60-36 vote. That tally came minutes after the House approved it by a sweeping 293-132 vote. Obama is expected to sign it into law shortly after returning from a West Coast fundraising swing.

Under today's measure, workers would continue to receive a 2-percentage-point increase in their paychecks, and people out of work for more than six months would keep jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week. It would also head off a steep cut in reimbursements for physicians who treat Medicare patients. Click to read how the bill might result in ... faster Internet connections.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio talks about an accord on the payroll tax cut negotiations Thursday.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio talks about an accord on the payroll tax cut negotiations Thursday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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