WASHINGTON (AP) — After weeks of bickering and doubt, Congress delivered a last-minute holiday tax cut extension to 160 million American workers today along with further unemployment benefits for millions laid off in the nation's fierce recession and weak economic recovery.
It was a convincing victory for President Barack Obama, a humbling retreat for House Republicans.
Obama quickly signed the legislation, declaring it was "some good news just in the nick of time for the holidays." But he added that serious and difficult work lay ahead for Congress and the administration after the break for Christmas and New Year's.
Back-to-back voice vote approvals of the two-month special measure by the Senate and House came in mere seconds with no debate, just days after House Republican leaders had insisted that full-blown negotiations on a yearlong bill were the only way to prevent an immediate tax increase Jan. 1.