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Democrats and Republicans Reach Rare Bipartisan Agreement on Jobs

It had to happen sooner or later, right?

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, with their approval ratings south of atrocious, have jettisoned the rhetoric, at least for now, and embraced a victory on the jobs front.

Each side had been furiously working to yank the political rug out from under the other as a presidential election year approaches and control of the Senate hangs in the balance. Meanwhile, the nation continues to see stubbornly high unemployment ratings, week after week (though recently it ticked down a point - but just a point).

But this week in Congress, the logjam appears to have been broken, however fleetingly.

As the Senate focuses on getting veterans back to work, and Democrats have decided to toss out their preferred method of offsetting the cost of previous jobs measures, a surtax on millionaires, the chamber is expected not only to approve a package of tax credits for businesses who hire former servicemen and women, but also a repeal of the three percent withholding tax set to hit government contractors in 2013.

The Senate easily cleared a procedural hurdle on Monday night by a vote of 94-1, pointing to passage later this week of both pieces of legislation.

Republicans have steadfastly refused previous jobs measures because of the tax hike on those making more than $1 million. Democrats have compromised on that front and are also expected to accept a provision that pays for the repeal of the withholding tax by shelving a formula in their 2010 health care reform law that would have made it easier for more seniors to qualify for Medicaid.

The combined jobs measures would have to be sent to the House for approval, which is expected. That chamber passed the three percent withholding repeal as a standalone bill with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. Likewise, the House approved a similar veterans' bill known as the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act.