It was revealed in the last couple days that Republicans and Democrats have tentatively agreed to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the "doc fix" through 2012. The payroll tax cut, which will cost $185 billion, will be extended without any spending cuts or revenue increases to offset it. The unemployment insurance and "doc fix" extensions will be paid for in part with cuts to Medicare providers, an auction of wireless bandwidth, and cuts to the pensions of federal government employees.
Many are calling this a win for Democrats, especially since they were able to extend the payroll tax cut without any offsetting spending cuts. Some may recall that the payroll tax cut extension was a top topic of discussion in December of 2011, when Congress decided to extend the tax cut but not for the whole year. That battle was much more contentious as Republicans put up more opposition to the extension until fractures within the party forced it to surrender. That battle last December was widely considered an embarrassment for Republicans, which may speak as to why they decided to accept the extension without much of a fight this time.
No matter what led to these deals, this seems to be another case of Congress simply kicking the can down the road instead of picking up the can and dealing with it. Neither side seems to want to deal with these contentious issues. They don't want to be side with the can in their hand at the end of day, especially in an election year.