It's a done deal. Congressional negotiators have reached agreement on a measure that would renew a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more.
Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, announced the agreement late last night. Word of the deal capped a long day of wrangling over final details of the measure. The announcement paves the way for votes in both House and Senate this week. That's expected to happen on Friday. Lawmakers are to go on recess next week.
Republicans reversed course and dropped their opposition because of hammering by Democrats who charged them with being hostile to the middle class.
The legislation would continue a 2 percentage-point cut in the Social Security payroll tax, renew jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week for people languishing for long periods on unemployment rolls and protect doctors from a huge cut in their Medicare reimbursements.