Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

President wins big on payroll tax agreement

The US Congress yesterday approved a two-month renewal of payroll tax cuts for 160 million American workers and unemployment benefits for millions, handing President Barack Obama a convincing victory for his jobs agenda.

The votes, approving the measure by the Senate and House, capped a retreat by House Republicans who had insisted that a full-year bill was the only way to prevent a tax increase on 1 January.

The payroll tax cut was the centerpiece of a drive for jobs legislation that seems to have contributed to an uptick in Obama's poll numbers – and taken a toll on congressional Republicans. House Republicans were under fire from their constituents and Republican establishment figures incensed that they would risk losing the tax cut issue to Democrats.