"It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year," Obama said after the Senate passed a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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The U.S. Capitol is seen above in 2009 as senators worked late into the night on legislation. The light signifying that Congress is in session may remain on this holiday season as well, since House Republicans have said they will remain in a pro-forma session. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV) during a news conference on a payroll tax cut compromise. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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A dark cloud passes over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Many lawmakers fear that Congress' already low approval rating will sink even further after the failure of the supercommittee. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Grover Norquist, president of the taxpayer advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

The ideas of John Maynard Keynes, seen here around 1940, had great influence over the economic policies that followed the Great Depression and World War II. Walter Stoneman/Getty Images hide caption

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., accompanied by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss committee action on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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