Congress is getting ready to vote on extending a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for people out of work the longest.
The House and Senate plan to vote today on the $143 billion package, which features two of President Barack Obama's chief ingredients for strengthening the economy.
Passage seems virtually certain in the House and likely in the Senate, though its fate there is less assured. Some Democratic senators are defecting because of cuts in civil servants' pensions and other issues. Many Republicans are opposed because the bill will add $89 billion to federal deficits over the next decade.
With November elections looming, though, most lawmakers seem
ready to end the long-running fight.