The annual Christmas pageant is over; House and Senate Republicans and Democrats have reached a budget deal.
Congressional negotiators signed off Thursday evening on a $1 trillion spending agreement for 2012 for federal agencies, barely 27 hours before a deadline that could have led to a government shutdown.
After dropping minor policy prescriptions that President Obama opposed, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees gave final approval to the plan after a four-day standoff related to Obama’s demands to extend the payroll tax holiday for 160 million workers.
That negotiation, lawmakers and aides said, also could be headed toward an agreement, with lawmakers considering extending the $120 billion tax break for two months to buy more time to determine how they offset the benefit’s cost so it does not add to the federal deficit.
One of the provisions that was dropped from the bill was a plot by the Miami delegation to restore the Bush-era travel and money restrictions against Cuba… just before the holidays. That will make a lot of Cubans here happy. Oh, and they made the world safe for incandescent light bulbs.
The payroll tax holiday extension is still another matter that has yet to be negotiated. Stay tuned.