NPR : News

Filed Under:

Congress Passes Payroll Tax Extension

Both the House and Senate today voted to renew a payroll tax cut that benefits 160 million workers, as well as extending benefits to millions of unemployed Americans.

The Republican-controlled House voted 293-132, followed quickly by a simple majority vote in the Senate.

The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Workers would continue to receive the 2 percentage-point cut in the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax — as much as $2,200 for high-income earners.

The Associated Press reports:

Passage of the legislation also hands Obama a political win over objections from many Republicans who oppose it but were eager to wipe the issue from the election-year agenda. Opposition was particularly strong in the Senate, where Republicans signaled they would allow the measure to pass with a simple majority — instead of the filibuster-proof 60 votes typically required. That was a signal they want the measure to pass but don't want to vote for it and the $89 billion it would add to the nation's $15 trillion-plus debt.

Reuters says:

The legislation, which would add $100 billion to the U.S. deficit and is aimed at further stimulating the economy ... next goes to the Democratic-led Senate, where it is expected to pass later in the day.

The New York Times weighs in:

Republicans who said they supported the deal said they had won several important concessions during the talks, such as imposing new conditions and limits on unemployment compensation, and making a significant cut in the preventive-health spending called for by the health care overhaul that Democrats pushed through Congress in 2010.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Downed Russian Warplane Highlights Regional Divide On Syria

Hugh Pope, director of communications and outreach at the International Crisis Group in Brussels, explains the growing divide between Turkey and Russia on their priorities inside Syria.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.