Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama signed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut Friday, ending what had been a heated political stalemate and sealing a hard-fought win for Democrats on an issue -- taxes -- that has historically favored the GOP.
Earlier in the day, the measure cleared the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives by unanimous consent, a procedural move allowing the measure to pass even though most members of Congress were already home for the holidays.
"This is some good news just in the nick of time," Obama said shortly before departing the White House for Hawaii. But "we have a lot more work to do. This continues to be a make-or-break moment for the middle class in this country."
Among other things, the $33 billion bill also includes a two-month extension of emergency federal unemployment benefits and the so-called "doc fix," a delay in scheduled payment reductions to doctors who treat Medicare patients.
Congress will consider a longer extension of all three measures when it reconvenes in January.