Both Sides Can Claim Victory as Congress Has a Deal on Payroll Tax

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Expect both parties to claim a victory now that Congressional negotiators have reached a deal to extend a payroll tax holiday for 10 months and unemployment benefits through the end of the year. The $150 billion economic plan also puts a five-month squabble over President Obama's jobs plan to bed, allowing Democrats to pound their chests (and make sure the middle class hears it) and Republicans to claim they cut $11.6 billion from the healthcare reform act as part of the negotiations, according to Talking Points MemoThe Washington Post reports that a vote could come as early as Friday.

As it has for the past five months, the final negotiations took some work. CBS reports that Obama made phone calls last night as part of the process, though they didn't specify who received the high-profile calls. Reaching a deal has major incentives for Obama, since according to The Hill, the payroll tax cut's effect on economic growth can only improve Obama's reelection chances (which are rapidly improving in Nate Silver's latest figures). An unnamed Senate Democratic aide had told The Hill the administration believes Obama will win reelection if the payroll-tax cut extension is approved. 

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