WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has signed legislation extending a payroll tax cut for two months. The action concludes an end-of-year drama that split Republicans and threatened a tax hike on 160 million Americans.
He also signed a $1 trillion-plus 2012 spending bill that sets the day-to-day budgets of 10 Cabinet agencies.
Obama acted Friday after the House and Senate approved the tax cut extension, which will maintain the Social Security tax at 4.2 percent. The legislation also extends unemployment insurance for jobless workers and forces Obama to make a decision within 60 days on whether to permit construction of an oil pipeline opposed by environmental groups.
By signing the tax cut extension, Obama capped nearly a week-long standoff with House Republicans who demanded a full-year extension. Under a deal reached Thursday, House and Senate leaders named negotiators to begin working on a longer-term bill.
The spending bill locks in cuts that conservative Republicans won from the White House and Democrats this year. Republicans blocked new federal regulations for light bulb energy efficiency, coal dust in mines and clean water permits for construction of timber roads.
Meanwhile Democrats also declared victory with the spending bill. The White House prevented Republican attempts to block limits on greenhouse gases, mountaintop removal mining and hazardous emissions from utility plants, industrial boilers and cement kilns.