It was definitely a messy end to the work year for the Congress, as the House and Senate quietly approved a two month extension of a payroll tax cut, capping off a post-Thanksgiving session that was marked mainly by political posturing and maneuvering.
Republicans stayed away from the TV cameras and microphones after final action by Congress, as instead Democrats dominated the airwaves.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) labeled the battle a “good learning experience” – aiming that remark at Republicans.
“I am glad the Republican leadership of the House finally did what they should have done in the first place,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
As for Speaker John Boehner, he refused to answer questions from reporters as he left the House floor.
No Republican showed up during the short House sessions to even threaten the possibility of objecting to the two month deal, which deals not only with the payroll tax cut, but also long term jobless benefits and the Medicare “Doc Fix.”
The plan also includes a provision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, which gives the Obama Administration 60 days to make a decision on the project – one that has strong backing from Republicans and a number of Democrats.
The pipeline wasn’t mentioned by President Obama before he left the White House to join his family in Hawaii.
“This is some good news, just in the nick of time for the holidays,” Mr. Obama said in the White House Briefing Room.
The President urged Congress to quickly come up with a deal to extend the tax cut for all of 2012; those negotiations are set to begin after the holidays.
“Let’s make sure that we extend this tax break,” the President said, “for our families, but also for our economy.”
The President didn’t take any extra jabs at Republicans in Congress – instead he merely celebrated what many on Capitol Hill believe was a technical knockout against the GOP over the past week.
Mr. Obama then wrapped up with one word: