With 27 hours to go, Congressional leaders signed off on a $1 trillion spending bill late Thursday night to avoid a government shutdown. It's a pre-Christmas miracle! To secure the deal, Republicans agreed to address a funding shortfall at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a key part of President Obama's financial reform initiatives, and dropped an amendment to restrict travel to Cuba, reports Politico's David Rogers. In return, Democrats dropped a measure to liberalize rules for financial transfers between the U.S. and Cuba.
Way to get something done, Congress! The bill is expected to arrive on the House floor today but it still doesn't settle the payroll tax issue. According to Lisa Mascaro at The Los Angeles Times, congressional leaders may go small to extend a payroll tax break to 160 million Americans.:
Negotiators were considering a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday, which is set to expire Dec. 31, in case they could not agree to continue it for a full year, according to those familiar with the talks. The measure trims workers' Social Security tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, providing an average $1,000 annual benefit for 160 million working Americans.
Still, the spending bill appears to have unbound itself from the payroll tax debate, which will likely be dealt with by Congress separately. In short, most parts of the federal government will not be shut down tomorrow. Phew!