In the end, the long-debated, often-delayed, more often gridlocked budget deal came down to a couple of voice votes in the near-empty chambers of the House and Senate, approving a $33 billion spending measure that keeps the payroll tax rate at 4.2 percent through the end of February.
But the debate is far from over. It will resume when Congress returns early next year and the partisan sniping began before President Barack Obama even had a chance to sign the budget deal.
Right-wing GOP representative Tom Price blamed what he called a “two month punt” on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Obama had not done their jobs.
But it was Republicans in the House who buckled under public pressure and backed down from their stonewalling of the deal.
Polls showed most Americans blamed Republicans — particularly the tea-party controlled right-wing newcomers — on the gridlock.