Congressional leaders announced Thursday that they've struck a deal to ensure the payroll tax rate does not rise at the beginning of next year, potentially ending a stalemate that had put House Speaker John Boehner in a politically uncomfortable position.
Following a day of political grandstanding by members of both parties, as well as private talks in pursuit of an agreement, Boehner said at a news conference late Thursday that the House plans to vote on a new version of the Senate-passed bill -- which would extend the payroll tax cut for another two months -- despite earlier opposing a short-term extension.
In exchange, the Senate will appoint negotiators who will meet with House lawmakers to next hammer out an extension of the tax cut for the rest of 2012.
The deal still has to clear both chambers, and rank-and-file Republicans already are expressing concern about the terms Boehner outlined. But the agreement was modeled after a solution Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell proposed earlier Thursday.
McConnell's statement, as well as a very public campaign by the White House to lambaste House Republicans for holding up a deal, had put pressure on Boehner to find a way out of the impasse, and fast. Without a deal, the payroll tax rate is set to rise from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1, which would mean about $40 less a paycheck for a family making $50,000.
"On Jan. 1, no American worker will see an increase in their taxes," Boehner assured Thursday. "I think this agreement will help our economy."
The deal is a turnaround for Boehner, who until Thursday was abiding by rank-and-file wishes to reject the Senate's two-month package and instead demand the Senate work out a yearlong package before Jan. 1...