Republican and Democratic leaders have the outlines of a potential deal to resolve the payroll tax standoff that has paralyzed Capitol Hill for a week, sources tell Fox News.
Under the plan, the House would agree to a two-month extension, and the Senate would appoint negotiators to work on a deal to last the full year.
We’re very close to a deal,” a top Republican on Capitol Hill told Fox News, though the details still would need to be approved by rank-and-file members. House Speaker John Boehner was expected to address fellow Republicans on a conference call at 5 p.m.
“The end is near,” one senior House Republican aide said.
Until now, House Republicans have refused to approved a stop-gap measure passed by the Senate that would have extended the payroll tax cut for another two months. Republicans argue a short-term extension is bad policy, but Democrats, including President Obama, have said it is the only way to ensure taxes don’t increase on Jan. 1, while the two sides negotiate a longer deal.
House Republicans seemed to soften their hard-line position Thursday afternoon, and sources tell Fox News that the plan forward might look like this:
The House would originate a new payroll tax bill, a necessary step because the Constitution requires that bills with revenue implications start in the House.
The House ostensibly would agree to this new bill by “unanimous consent,” meaning House Republican leadership would have pre-cleared this with all members. Failing to get unanimous consent would doom it.