Payroll Tax Cut’s Last Hurdle: Getting ‘Unanimous Consent’

As with everything happening in Congress these days, the deal reached Thursday to pass a 2-month extension of a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed isn’t a “done deal” just yet.

And for it to be “done” later today will require the “unanimous consent” of House members — something that sounds rather daunting as one of the most partisan years in recent memory draws to a close.

As Politico wonders this morning, the key question is: “Will House frosh comply?

“At least two House freshmen [have] left open the possibility that they would object to the unanimous consent to extend the tax holiday by two months while congressional conferees work out a year-long deal,” Politico reports. They are Rep. Mo Broooks (R-Ala.) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).

Basically, as CBS News explains, the plan is for a few of the House members who haven’t already left Washington for the holidays to meet in the Capitol this morning and move to pass the extensions by “unanimous consent.” It’s a procedure that allows things (usually those that aren’t controversial) to be passed so long as no lawmaker stands up to object.

If all goes as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hopes, then the very slightly tweaked package would go back to the Senate (where there is strong, bipartisan support and it’s already been approved once) to get that chamber’s “unanimous consent.”

But if any House member decides he or she doesn’t like the deal, then the full House would have to reconvene — probably next week — for a roll call vote.

We’ll keep an eye on what’s happening and report back.

Earlier today, NPR’s Tamara Keith talked with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne about the deal and the reversal by House Republicans who had opposed it.

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