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House Republicans Blink, Payroll Tax Standoff Ends

Under Pressure, Speaker Boehner Orders Compromise On 2-Month Extension
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House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama in the Cabinet Room at the White House - Washington, DC - Jul 11, 2011 (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama in the Cabinet Room at the White House – Washington, DC – Jul 11, 2011 (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After months of bickering, congressional leaders have reached a compromise to prevent higher payroll taxes for 160 million Americans.

It appears that House Republicans have blinked in the payroll tax standoff, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Just after 5 p.m., House Speaker John Boehner held a conference call with his members to “make a brief announcement.”

Sources told Kramer he was going to tell them to pass the two-month extension previously approved by the Senate.

Boehner crumpled under the weight of pressure, pressure from the President Barack Obama, pressure from Senate Republicans and pressure from the American people.

The House apparently agreed to pass the extension and the Senate agreed to appoint members to a committee that will come up with a one-year extension.

“This is about people. This is about the American people,” President Obama said.

The deal came together after the president held a press conference in which he stood with a number of people who make $50,000 a year and will lose $1,000 — $40 a paycheck — if taxes go up on Jan. 1. One man uses it to heat his home.

“Having an extra $40 in his check buys enough heating oil to keep his family warm for three nights. In his words, I’m quoting, ‘if someone doesn’t think that 12 gallons of heating oil is important I invite them to spend three nights in an unheated home,’” the president said.

The additional presidential pressure came as House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged fellow Republicans in the House to give in on the standoff, and people around the country were contacting their lawmakers.

“This is exactly why people get so frustrated with Washington,” the president said.

For New Yorkers, the lack of a deal would have meant they would have had to pay an estimated $7.1 billion in additional taxes next year: According to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, that would mean:

* If you make $20,000, you’ll pay $400 more

* If you make $40,000, your tax bill goes up $800

* $60,000 in income will cost you $1,200 in additional taxes

* $100,000 in income? $2,000 in additional taxes

One thing that apparently moved Republicans was this warning from one of their own about the political price to pay for a standoff.

“Next November no incumbent is safe nor should they be,” Sen. John McCain said.

The agreement will also put new language in the bill to protect small businesses. The bill extends unemployment insurance and protects health care for seniors.

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