Just got the following info from a Senate Democratic aide:
Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a two-month deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance.And here's a statement Senate Majority Leader Reid's office just released.
Democratic negotiators offered a fully-paid for, one-year continuation of the middle class payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, but Republicans rejected it, insisting on cutting Medicare benefits and refighting old battles on health care reform as part of any one-year deal. Republican negotiators wanted to raise premiums on Medicare beneficiaries and charge middle class families more for their health care.
If Republicans are going to make cutting Medicare benefits the price of extending a middle class tax cut for one year, we'll take the two month extension and gladly have this fight for American families again in February.
STATEMENT BY SENATOR HARRY REID
“Democrats have worked tirelessly to prevent a thousand-dollar tax increase on middle-class families, but my Republican colleagues wouldn’t agree to long-term tax relief unless Democrats agreed to cut Medicare benefits for seniors. Tomorrow, the Senate will take up and pass a two-month extension of the middle class tax cut, along with unemployment insurance and the so-called ‘doc fix.’ For the next two months, Democrats will work to extend the middle-class tax cut through the end of the year. Republicans can either join us, or explain why they want middle-class families’ taxes to go up.”