A senior administration officials said that the deal announced Friday night meets the test that President Obama had set out: that Congress would not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million Americans.
However, rank and file members of the House said on Friday that they were opposed to a short-term extension. Approval in that chamber, even with the provision on the Keystone XL pipeline, is no sure thing.
The Senate agreement would also allow jobless workers to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits as permitted by current law for two months. For the same period, there would be no cut or increase in fees paid to doctors for treating Medicare patients. The cost of these items will be fully paid for, Congressional aides said.
News of the deal came as the 112th Congress lurched toward the end of its tumultuous first session. Earlier on Friday, the House finished off one of its last major pieces of business for the year, voting 296 to 121 to approve a sweeping $1 trillion spending bill that would keep the government funded through Sept. 30. The Senate is set to approve it Saturday.