On Saturday the Senate agreed overwhelmingly 89-10 to pass a two month payroll tax cut extension. The short term deal is a result of the inability Democrats and Republicans to agree on how to fund a long term extension. Also agreed on was to extend long-term unemployment benefits for another two months. The legislation will be returned to House and be voted on next week. If passed, it will be sent to Obama for his signature.
Fox News reported “Final passage would mean American families would continue to enjoy a 2 percentage point cut from their Social Security tax. In addition, weekly jobless payments averaging about $300 for millions of people who have been out of work for six months or more would be continued.”
In the bill is a provision opposes by Obama which attempts to speed the implementation of the controversial Keystone pipeline. It forces him to make a decision within 60 days. “Here’s the single largest shovel-ready project in America,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday. “It is literally ready to go with the permission of the President of the United States.”
The recent developments are a result of the President withdrawing his threat to vote the bill. Even though a White House statement made no mention of the pipeline provision. One White House official said Obama most likely would not grant a permit to begin the pipeline.
Later Saturday the Senate is expected to finish voting on a $915 billion bill to keep many U.S. government agencies operating through next September. The House of Representatives passed this measure on Friday.