Finally, some common sense on Capitol Hill: Bowing to political pressure, House Republicans agreed to a two-month extension of a payroll-tax cut for 160 million Americans. The Washington Post reports that in exchange for supporting the 60-day extension, Republicans secured minor concessions from Senate leaders, who had already gotten their own two-month deal passed.
President Barack Obama hailed the deal, which is expected to be to be ratified on Friday, in a statement Thursday evening:
For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans. Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.
Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut — about $1,000 for the average family. That’s about $40 in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.
This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.
The deal is being characterized in some media reports as the GOP "caving in," but let's just give them a little credit, instead, for being reasonable. 'Tis the season for being charitable, right?
At least until January.
Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.