Bob Schieffer: When pigs flew in Washington

We interrupt this program with a bulletin: Congress did something.

I mean, really! We're not kidding, Congress actually did something Friday.

A bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats agreed to extend the payroll tax cut for the rest of the year.

That, after Republicans had vowed for two months to oppose it unless there were huge cuts in governmental programs. There were no such cuts.

Instead, Republican Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon said, "We needed to get this policy moved forward. When you are in the majority, you have to govern."

Translation: This is an election year. We were about to get our keisters handed to us on a platter.

So the tax cut passed with plenty of Republican support.

Now don't get me wrong. Like the Republicans, I'm not much for tax cuts that aren't paid for. Nor do I agree with some Democrats who saw this as ranking in importance with the invention of penicillin.

But letting that tax cut expire could have hurt a lot of struggling working people and when experts say that could have endangered a frail economic recovery, it sounds right to me.

But more important, bipartisan co-operation could be contagious, a pleasant experience for both sides which could tempt them to try it again.

Who knows? If they got in the habit of working together, they might move beyond these stop-gap measures and tackle something of real significance.

  • Bob Schieffer On Twitter»

    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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