WASHINGTON -- Congress was close to a deal to extend a popular payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, according to several reports.
The pending agreement was expected to involve accepting an offer by the GOP-led House to extend the 2 percent payroll tax cut for 10 more months, without requiring any offsets to pay for the break.
Extending unemployment insurance and stopping a pending cut in Medicare rates paid to doctors would require $50 billion to $60 billion in cuts elsewhere in the budget, which Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested earlier Tuesday could be found relatively easily.
Sources also told The Huffington Post they believed a deal was probably coming together, but aides in the House and Senate cautioned that it was a long way from done.
"I’m always leery of things until they’re final," said one aide.
"Seen this movie before," said another.
House Republicans still had to meet Tuesday evening to discuss the first part of the proposal. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) a senior Republican who runs the House Republican Congressional Campaign, also expressed doubts.
"The deal's not done yet ... the chicken can't grow until the egg is hatched," Sessions said. "The egg hasn't hatched yet."