House and Senate negotiators reached a last-minute deal late Thursday to fund the U.S.government through September 30 of next year — staving off a government shutdown that would have started at midnight Friday.
“Houston, we no longer have a problem,” a relieved House aide told Capitol Hill Blue. “We can go home for Christmas.”
Both the House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the funding deal Friday and send it to President Barack Obama for a quick signature.
Still pending, however, is a deal on extension of a payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits. Negotiations continue on a separate deal that is no longer tied to the funding measure.
Congressional aides close to the project say two options are possible: A short-term deal extending the tax cut and jobless benefits for two months or a year-long deal that both sides say they want but agree may not be possible in the current political environment.
Problems remain on how to offset the $120 billion in lost revenue if a 4.2 percent payroll tax for Social Security rises to 6.2 percent on January 1.
President Barack Obama warned Congress not to go home until a deal is made.
“Congress should not and cannot go on vacation before they have made sure that working families aren’t seeing their taxes go up by $1,000 and those who are out there looking for work don’t see their unemployment insurance expire,” The President said Thursday.