(AP) WASHINGTON - Calling quits to a bruising election-year fight, negotiators on Capitol Hill sealed an agreement late Wednesday on legislation to renew a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced the agreement, capping a long day of wrangling over final details of the measure, which is a top priority of President Barack Obama. The announcement paved the way for votes in both House and Senate this week. [...]
Republicans claimed victory in reducing the number of weeks of jobless benefits that workers would be eligible to receive. The maximum number in states with the highest jobless rates would be cut from 99 weeks to 73 weeks by the end of the year, according to aides in both parties. Republicans had wanted to cut the maximum to 59 weeks.
But in states with particularly high unemployment, such as Rhode Island and Nevada, the measure is actually more generous over the next few months than current law.