(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives agreed by unanimous consent to pass a temporary two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, delaying a contentious battle over a long-term solution until early next year.
House Speaker John Boehner presided over a pro forma session Friday morning as Rep. Jo Ann Emerson requested unanimous consent to pass the bill. No members objected and the deal was quickly agreed to. Earlier Friday morning, the Senate also quickly agreed to the measure by unanimous consent.
As Boehner left the House chamber and walked back to his office across the Capitol, he ignored a blitz of questions related to how he felt about the agreement.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and a small contingent of House Democrats praised President Obama’s leadership during the brinksmanship.
But disagreements on how to pay for a long-term extension as well as how to reform the unemployment insurance program linger.
Hoyer and his Democratic colleagues declined to detail their strategy heading into bipartisan, bicameral conference negotiations, which are expected to begin shortly after Jan. 1.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed five Democrats to join the negotiations next month: Rep. Sander Levin, the top Democrat on Ways and Means, Xavier Becerra and Chris Van Hollen, two members of the failed supercommittee on deficit reduction, Henry Waxman, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce, and Allison Schwartz, D-Pa.
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