House passes payroll tax cut, jobless benefit bill

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has passed a bill renewing a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more, backing the main items on President Barak Obama's jobs agenda in a rare burst of bipartisanship.

Friday's 293-132 vote marked an unambiguous political victory for Obama as he campaigns for re-election.

The Senate, controlled by Obama's Democrats is expected to follow quickly and send the measure to to the president to sign.

Under the bill, workers will continue to receive a 2 percentage point increase in their paychecks, and people out of work for more than six months will keep jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week. Obama says these steps will aid the fragile recovery from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.