Wall Street Journal (02/14/12) Naftali Bendavid
House Republicans have agreed to extend the current payroll tax reduction for the rest of the year without spending cuts to offset the cost, a major breakthrough in the effort to reach bipartisan agreement on the issue. The revised stance was welcomed by Democrats, and one Democratic leadership aide says a final deal is now likely within 48 hours on a broader set of issues. “There are other important issues that remain, but this concession by the Republicans resolves the big enchilada in these discussions,” the aide says.
Republican leaders say they will advance legislation on the payroll tax alone as a “backup plan.” They add that the proposal still will have to be approved by their rank-and-file members, many of whom have adamantly opposed programs that would worsen the federal budget deficit.