Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative deal to extend the payroll tax holiday for two months, with the House set to act on Friday.
A subdued House Speaker John Boehner announced the accord Thursday evening on Capitol Hill, after speaking with members of his Republican conference.
"I don't think there's any time for celebration," he said.
The terms of the deal reached by Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid call for the House to tweak legislation to ensure that small businesses are protected from new reporting requirements in the Senate bill.
Both the House and Senate will then appoint conferees to negotiate a year-long extension in the coming weeks.
Each chamber will have to approve the deal by a unanimous consent agreement before Christmas.
The agreement amounts to a reversal of sorts for the House Republican majority, which had rejected a compromise plan that the Senate overwhelmingly passed last weekend to extend relief for wage-earners for 60 more days.
Boehner had said the House wanted a full-year extension, and called on President Obama to demand the Democratic-controlled Senate return to Washington to continue negotiations.
Earlier Thursday, the Ohio Republican showed little sign of reversing course, convening his top negotiators in an otherwise-empty Capitol to call on Democrats to join them for "serious negotiations."
Asked later about the perception that Republicans had caved, Boehner said that, "I think our members waged a good fight." He admitted, though, that it may not have been a politically popular one.
The White House issued a statement from President Obama congratulating members "for ending the partisan stalemate."
"This is good news, just in time for the holidays," he said. "This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs."
Reid said in a separate statement that he was "grateful that the voices of reason prevailed."
This article first appeared at latimes.com