Federal workers may be in for a rough holiday: a government shutdown is looming once again as debate over a payroll-tax extension threatens to derail a separate government-funding compromise. While Republicans and Democrats have mostly agreed to terms on a deal to fund the government through next September, Democrats are withholding their signatures until a compromise is made on the payroll tax. Otherwise, Republicans could pack up for the holidays, forcing the Dems to either let the payroll tax expire or to swallow the version the House passed Tuesday, which President Obama has threatened to veto for linking the tax-extension to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. A few issues also remain to be settled in the government-funding bill: whether to ban Washington, D.C., from using taxpayer money to provide abortion services; whether to reverse an Obama administration decision making it easier for Americans to visit family in Cuba; and whether to block new standards for incandescent light bulbs.
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