House Republicans on Thursday crumpled under the weight of White House and public pressure and have agreed to pass a two-month extension of the payroll-tax cut[.]
Just a little earlier in the day, a couple of Republican freshmen openly defected and called on Boehner to allow the vote. If this bill passes with a majority of Democrats voting yes and a majority of Republicans voting no, Boehner's speakership could be in serious jeopardy. However, I suspect he's made some sort of deal to protect himself, but no matter what, this is a major—and well-deserved—humiliation for Boehner. 1:17 PM PT (Kaili Joy Gray):
House R aide: there will be "new language so small businesses are protected from the costly new reporting requirements in the Senate bill"
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) December 22, 2011
House GOP appeared to be adopting a compromise suggestion by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who, earlier today, urged the House to pass the two-month extension in exchange for the Senate appointing members to a conference committee, which will negotiate a longer-term extension. The proposal won a nod of approval from President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The House GOP leaders are expected to present this proposal to to their members in a 5 p.m. conference call.
The bill could be passed, potentially, by unanimous consent, which would not require the full House to return to a vote.
“Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators. Under the terms of our agreement, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new language that allows job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place. The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension. We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas.