The Senate cast its final votes for the year on Saturday morning, reaching agreement on a two-month payroll tax extension and a $1 trillion budget bill funding major government functions through September, ending a week of divide over the two bills that had led to more threats of a government shutdown.
Passed 67-32, the omnibus spending bill wraps together funding for most government agencies and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of the fiscal year in September. But lawmakers were only able to agree to a temporary extension of the payroll tax relief, approving by 89-10 a 2-percent cut through February.
Lawmakers had worked behind closed doors since Thursday, seeking a compromise on both bills after party leaders had tried to turn them into bargaining tactics to force concessions from each other.
They reached agreement on the spending legislation only after Republicans agreed to remove a provision blocking President Obama from easing regulations on visiting and sending money to relatives in Cuba.
While the spending bill deal was struck early enough for the House to approve it yesterday, negotiations over the payroll tax relief extended late into Friday night. The House will return Monday to approve the payroll tax deal, and President Obama is expected to sign both pieces of legislation.