With 27 hours to go, Congressional leaders signed off on a $1 trillion spending bill late Thursday night to avoid a government shutdown. It's a pre-Christmas miracle! To secure the deal, Republicans agreed to address a funding shortfall at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a key part of President Obama's financial reform initiatives, and dropped an amendment to restrict travel to Cuba, reports Politico's David Rogers. In return, Democrats dropped a measure to liberalize rules for financial transfers between the U.S. and Cuba.
Negotiators were considering a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday, which is set to expire Dec. 31, in case they could not agree to continue it for a full year, according to those familiar with the talks. The measure trims workers' Social Security tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, providing an average $1,000 annual benefit for 160 million working Americans.