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More political games Congress must find the political will to extend payroll tax cut, jobless benefits

Congress is once again showing off its incompetence.

Rather than coming to an agreement on the extension of a much-needed payroll tax cut, the ever-fractious legislators would rather create another crisis.

If Congress fails to act, both the payroll tax cut that benefits 160 million workers and a program that provides benefits for millions of long-term unemployed will expire on Jan. 1. The Senate passed a two-month extension by a vote of 89-10, a rare example of bipartisanship. But the House is refusing to go along, demanding a longer deal and big spending cuts.

The tax cut saved a typical family more than $900 this year. Allowing the tax cut and unemployment benefits to expire would, according to experts, severely slow economic growth next year. That sounds like motivation enough to get the House on board. But then again, this is Washington we're talking about. This is just the latest in a series of political disputes that have brought the nation to the brink of shutdown several times.

Congress, with an abysmal approval rating, is working hard to push those numbers even lower. This is an issue in which the Senate actually reached a compromise, with each side giving a little. The House needs to join in so that Americans don't receive a tax hike for Christmas.

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