WASHINGTON — Surrendering to political reality, House GOP leaders did an about-face and said they were willing to extend a payroll tax cut for 160 million working Americans without insisting that it be paid for.

The dramatic shift Monday was an effort by the Republicans to get past an issue on which President Obama and his Democratic allies had roundly attacked them since December. Polls have indicated that the Republicans have suffered considerable damage from Obama's assertion that they were blocking a tax break for the middle class.

Substantively, the result could mean that average working Americans will continue to receive an extra $20 a week in their paychecks uninterrupted through the end of the year. A vote on the GOP proposal could come as soon as this week, just days before the tax break is set to expire Feb. 29.

Read more in Tuesday's Arizona Daily Star and StarNet.