Look, people, we appear to have figured out what it takes to get House Republicans to agree on something: Having every other person on the planet scream at them for several days! The official announcement will come at 5:00, but everyone's now reporting that House Republicans will agree to the Senate's bipartisan compromise to extend the payroll tax cut and assorted other things for two months, before resuming work on the full extension in 2012.
Once Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave his orders this morning, it was only a matter of hours and a question of how to let House Republicans come back from the ledge while preserving a small bit of dignity. But Democrats didn't have to concede much of anything. Senate Democrats will now appoint conferees to mesh the long-term House Republican bill with its Senate counterpart in the new year, as Speaker Boehner had wanted. They'll also make a technical tweak to the language of the two-month extension to make implementation of such a (for now) short-term policy easier on businesses. Then Republicans can say, "we held out to save businesses." The tweak will also force Senate Democrats to pass it again, which may spare House Republicans the humiliation of being the only chamber that's forced to reopen for a vote.
Aren't you going to miss this irritating shallow go-nowhere procedural psychobabble nonsense during the holidays? We'll get through it, together.
Democrats will understandably celebrate this, at least for like 12 hours or so until everyone forgets, since it's the first time in recent memory that they haven't been the ones caving in a standoff. But hey? This is just a stopgap, man. The stakes weren't too high. But watch out in the new year, because House Republicans really won't be happy about the way this ended and will be looking to pick some fights.
[Image via AP]