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Before Thursday’s compromise was announced, Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, told The Washington Times that lawmakers were already eyeing a $38 billion, two-year fix passed by the House to be resurrected if a larger deal couldn’t be struck. Mr. Gingrey expressed optimism that Congress will achieve SGR reform sometime in 2012.

“We’re committed to solving the problem this time finally once and for all — get rid of SGR and replace it,” Mr. Gingrey said. “I think we can sell that to [lawmakers] before the end of the next session, I absolutely do.”

And Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington state Democrat, said it was unlikely that House Republicans would “commit political suicide” by refusing to compromise on a Doc Fix deal, even with the partisan divisions on display in the payroll tax fight.

“It’s hard for me to conceive of this place being so dysfunctional that it won’t happen,” he said.