It could be called a Christmas miracle.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats have reached a compromise that will keep unemployment benefits going and the payroll tax cut in place through the end of February, the National Journal is reporting. The deal would essentially give the Senate what they'd wanted: a Christmas break without the chance of unemployment benefits running out and taxes rising about $40 per family per month.
Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich, citing an unnamed Republican house aide, said the plan will be presented to the rank-and-file in a conference call tonight. If call goes well leadership hopes to pass the deal by unaninmous consent Friday at 10 a.m. (Follow @ToddZwillich on Twitter for updates on this developing situation.)
Some Tea Party-backed House members had insisted they would not go for anything short of a one-year extension, but the legislation they'd passed to get there had been so politically unpopular in the Senate that Republicans and Democrats sought to buy more time by pushing through a status quo extension.
Republicans in the House had stood united against the extension since Sunday, but as Republican Senators, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and other conservatives lined up with the Democrats, the unanimity falterd.
President Barack Obama summarized the feelings of many Americans when he appeared before TV cameras on Thursday to urge Republicans to agree to the bipartisan Senate plan.
"Enough is enough," he said.
It remains to be seen if the House will agree to the Senate bill without changes, or if Senators will have to return to Washington to approve something that is close to it.