It looks like a lot of people will be getting a small tax hike, in the form of the payroll tax holiday going away on January first. How we got there is kind of interesting. As near as I can tell, Republicans wouldn't agree to a one-year extension unless it was amended with a bunch of irrelevancies (most notably fast-tracking the Keystone XL pipeline).
So a compromise, two-month extension was agreed to, that would extend it long enough to negotiate a longer-term agreement. The Senate promptly passed that, with 89 or 90 votes (I forget), but the House decided that negotiating wasn't good enough. No, they needed to reject the Senate bill, and send the issue to committee, so they could negotiate.
So, once again, we see that 'public service' stops at the doors of Congress, as everyone went home for the holiday.
Merry Christmas to the 160M or so who are affected by the payroll tax holiday. *sigh*
Update: Supposedly, the House Republicans caved earlier today, and will be approving the agreed-upon two-month extension. We'll see what happens when the two months ends, but I suspect it'll be as ugly as the last few days have been.