Congress approved a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans on Friday after an intense standoff between Senate Democrats and House Republicans.
If an agreement had not been reached, the average worker would have faced an extra thousand dollars in taxes next year.
“On January 1st, no American worker will see an increase in their taxes,” said House Speaker John Boehner.
The extension of the 2 percent payroll tax cut is a temporary fix, and party leaders have two months to find common ground for a full year deal.
“I look forward to appointing members of my caucus to continue negotiations towards a year-long agreement,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Two months is not a long time, and I expect the negotiators to work expeditiously to forge year-long extensions of these critical policies.”
Earlier this week, President Obama took the stage surrounded by families and urged Congress to end the stalemate.
“Enough is enough,” said Obama. “The people standing with me today can’t afford any more games. They can’t afford to lose a thousand dollars because of some ridiculous Washington standoff.”
The $33 billion measure keeps the payroll tax rate at 4.2 percent through February 2012, avoiding a new year increase to 6.2 percent. The money needed to pay for the two-month extension will be raised by increasing fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for guaranteeing mortgages.