WASHINGTON (AP) â€” In an abrupt about-face, House Republican leaders Thursday agreed to a two-month extension of a Social Security payroll tax cut and federal unemployment benefits,Â GOPÂ aides said.
The move reflects a bowing to demands by theSenateÂ and PresidentÂ Barack ObamaÂ and appears to all but assure 160 million workers arenâ€™t hit by a 2 percentage point increase in the payroll tax on Jan. 1.
It also would renew jobless benefits for almost 2 million people without jobs for more than six months and spare doctors from a big cut inÂ MedicareÂ payments. House Republicans were to hold a telephone conference call on the developments later Thursday.
House Republicans balked at the bipartisanÂ SenateÂ bill earlier this week, and their leaders, as recently as Thursday morning, had insisted that theSenateÂ begin talks on a one-year measure passed by the House last week. TheÂ SenateÂ passed a 2-month extension on Saturday.
The decision came swiftly after the top Republican in theÂ Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, urged the House to accept a short-term measure.
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