House passes payroll tax cut for Obama's signature

December 23, 2011 - 11:07 AM
Congress Payroll Tax

Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio pauses at a news conference to announce an agreement for a 2-month extension to the payroll tax cut on Capitol Hill Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a two-month renewal of payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and unemployment benefits for millions of jobless, giving President Barack Obama a resounding victory over Republicans who control the House. The Senate approved the bill earlier Friday. The measure was passed by voice vote in a virtually empty House chamber despite lingering grumbling from tea party Republicans. It buys time for negotiations early next year on how to cover the costs of a yearlong extension of the two percentage point payroll tax cut, the centerpiece of Obama's fall jobs agenda.

It would boost the paycheck of the average worker making a $50,000 salary by about $20 a week and would prevent almost 2 million unemployed people from losing jobless benefits averaging $300 a week.