House Republican leaders have surprised and angered rank-and-file lawmakers by abruptly backing down from demands that a 10-month extension of the payroll tax cut be paid for with cuts elsewhere. GOP leaders are wary of holding up a tax cut for 160 million Americans in an election year, Politico notes, but John Boehner’s raucous caucus will likely chafe at the move, which will add around $100 billion to the deficit. Still, the measure will now likely pass; even Nancy Pelosi hasn’t signaled opposition.
“This is not our first choice,” Boehner and two deputies said in a statement. “But in the face of the Democrats’ stonewalling and obstructionism, we are prepared to act to protect small businesses and our economy from the consequences of Washington Democrats’ political games.” Boehner said the focus will now shift to fighting to ensure that an extension of jobless benefits and a measure to prevent a 27% drop in rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients are paid for with cuts.