It looks like in exchange for the agreement, there will be a “technical correction” designed to “minimize difficulties businesses might experience implementing the short-term, two-month tax cut extension.” Harry Reid has apparently also agreed to appoint conferees to begin work on the year-long extension.
If the “technical” fix really does make life easier for payroll processors, that’s good! (though I’m of course skeptical). But the point has always been to pass the best-possible version of the House bill — which does the payroll tax, Keystone, unemployment reform, and some modest entitlement reform, and which pays for it all to boot. This fight may have significantly weakened the position of the GOP when it comes time to sit down with the Senate and hammer out a compromise.