Reporting Carey Codd
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – A deal is at hand to spare hundreds of millions of Americans a tax increase just days after Christmas.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives agreed Thursday to a deal to extend the payroll tax holiday.
After paying a political price, House Republicans gave in to pressure from their own party today after Republican leaders in the Senate publicly called on House members to approve the plan.
The deal will create a short term extension of a popular tax break for 160 million workers.
The extension of the payroll tax cut means workers like Michael Atkins will keep more of their money — on average about 20 dollars a week.
“I need all the money I can get,” Atkins said. “Paying anything extra would affect me, definitely. Like I said, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Others like Elandy, a working mother who did not want to give her last name, said she feared what would happen if the tax cut were not extended and her taxes went up in January.
“So bad,” she said. “I’m not making that much.”
After five days of political gamesmanship on Capital Hill House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday his members were ready to approve the bipartisan deal that passed the Senate last week.
“We were here fighting for the right things,” Boehner said at a news conference. “It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world but let me tell you what, our members waged a good fight.”
President Obama said he congratulated Congress for approving the plan.
“It’s the right thing to do for the economy,” Obama said, “and it’s, most importantly, the right thing to do for American families all across the country.”
South Floridian Jay Shetty agrees. He said the plan is a big benefit to the struggling middle class.
“It hurts people who are on limited income, it hurts,” Shetty said. “So this is really a good thing to do.”
The deal also extends unemployment benefits that would have expired at the end of the year.
The plan is expected to pass House and Senate possibly as early as tomorrow.
Both sides will begin work in January on making the tax break good for all of 2012.