WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Republicans on Thursday agreed to a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.

House speaker John Boehner announced he reached an agreement with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid so Americans' taxes will not go up January 1.

Boehner expects to pass a new bill by Christmas, and Congressional negotiators will work out a longer-term deal after the New Year.

"Doing the right thing for the right reasons is always the right thing to do. And while everyone asked for a full year extension of these programs, a lot of people weren't willing to put the effort in as the holidays were approaching to get it done. Our members were," said Boehner.

In a statement, President Barack Obama thanked citizens who'd spoken up and spurred Congress to action. Obama congratulated members of Congress on their agreement and urged them to extend the cuts to cover all of 2012 when they return from vacation.

Reid said year-long extensions of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and Medicare payments for doctors had always been the goal of lawmakers. He added that Democrats won't rest until they're passed.


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