Spending Deal Reached; Shutdown Avoided

An agreement came just hours before the deadline. 

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It was barely 27 hours before the deadline that could have led to a government shutdown when congressional negotiators signed off on a $1 trillion spending agreement for 2012 for federal agencies, the Washington Post reports. The final approval to the plan came after a four-day standoff related to President Obama's demands to extend the payroll-tax holiday for 160 million workers.

The White House initially had pushed Congress to delay the spending plan until the issue of the payroll tax was resolved, a move that raised the specter of a government shutdown and threatened to increase workers’ withholding tax at the start of the new year.

Linking the two measures only complicated the negotiations, however, and Republicans did not give in to Obama’s demands on how to set up the payroll tax provision. With the holiday season upon them, some aides suggested that lawmakers’ exhaustion and eagerness to leave the embattled Capitol for several weeks served as key factors in reaching the deals. Next year’s session will begin in late January.

“In spite of many unnecessary obstacles, it is good to see that responsible leadership and good governance can triumph,” House Appropriations Chair­man Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said Thursday night, referring to the spending plan.

The legislation will provide the full funding for the rest of fiscal 2012 for most of the government, including the Pentagon, the Education Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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