A House GOP leadership aide confirmed that House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reached a deal to extend the payroll tax cut by two months—a deal very close to what the Senate passed last week.
The difference? The new legislation will ensure that the reporting requirements for businesses remain the same, addressing concerns from payroll reporting experts that a two-month extension will sow confusion for businesses.
"While the two-month extension still falls short of providing the certainty Americans need, this solution will at minimum prevent small businesses from bearing a new administrative burden," the aide said.
The deal will continue a payroll tax cut, extend benefits to the long-term unemployed, and prevent cuts to payments for Medicare doctors until the end of February. It will also force the Obama administration to make a decision on the controversial Keystone Pipeline within 60 days.
As part of the deal, Reid will appoint representatives to a conference committee to hammer out a compromise with the House of Representatives on a long-term extension.
Earlier Thursday, a Senate Democratic aide claimed that a conference committee would just be a "sideshow" while the real negotiations happen elsewhere.
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