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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) says the House GOP’s acceptance of a two-month payroll tax cut extension is a “victory for middle-class taxpayers over tea party politics.”

Here’s Schumer’s full statement:



“In a year of divided government taken too far, Congress is thankfully going out on a bipartisan note.

“This is a victory for middle-class taxpayers over Tea Party politics. Even though this tax cut is only temporary, this breakthrough could have an enduring impact if it helps tame the faction of House Republicans that habitually tends toward brinksmanship.

“We now turn our attention to extending this tax cut for a full year, and we urge our Republican colleagues to seek common ground with us on how best to pay for it.”

President Obama, in a statement late Thursday, congratulated Congress on a reaching a deal to extend the payroll tax cut. “This is good news just in time for the holidays,” Obama said. The president thanked Americans who voiced their opinion on the payroll tax cut, saying, “Your voices made all the difference.”

Here’s Obama’s full statement:



For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans. Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.

Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut – about $1,000 for the average family. That’s about $40 in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.

This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.

If there's one thing that House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, political strategists of both parties and the White House all agree on, it's that House Republicans need to cave in and end the payroll tax stand off.

Speaking at the White House Thursday, President Obama gave a sloppy wet kiss to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion that House Republicans fold, with only the thinnest of covers. Essentially, all of the principals involved, except House Republicans, now agree that House Republicans should do what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed all along -- pass the Senate's stopgap bill to extend the payroll tax cut (and other expiring provisions) for two months with the promise that Democrats will work with Republicans on a year-long agreement.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement Thursday he is “grateful” the House has agreed to a short-term payroll tax cut extension in order to reach a longer-term deal. Here’s Reid’s statement:



“I am grateful that the voices of reason have prevailed and Speaker Boehner has agreed to pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise. Year-long extensions of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare payments for physicians has always been our goal, and Democrats will not rest until we have passed them. But there remain important differences between the parties on how to implement these policies, and it is critical that we protect middle-class families from a tax increase while we work them out.

“I look forward to appointing members of my caucus to continue negotiations towards a year-long agreement. Two months is not a long time, and I expect the negotiators to work expeditiously to forge year-long extensions of these critical policies.”

House Speaker John Boehner, speaking on the payroll tax cut deal, said: “Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s politically difficult to do the right thing.”

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that South Carolina can’t enforce several key parts of its tough immigration law, Reuters reports. The judge ruled that South Carolina can’t require police to check the immigration status of a person stopped for a minor traffic violation. The judge also barred SC from making it a felony for anyone knowingly to harbor or transport an undocumented person, Reuters reports.

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