- Nov 17, 2011
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement on the agreement early Thursday, saying the deal will "move the economy forward as it is beginning to gain steam."
"Everything should not have to be a fight, and I am glad that most of my Republican colleagues put the interests of the middle class ahead of politics to forge this agreement," Reid said in a statement. "Americans expect us to put our differences aside and find common ground. In the months ahead, I hope this shift to the middle becomes the norm, rather than the exception."
The $150 billion measure represents a tactical retreat for Republicans, who were generally unenthusiastic about the legislation but eager to move beyond the issue. With the campaign season starting, they don't want Obama and Democrats in Congress to be able to claim that the GOP was standing in the way of a middle-class tax cut.
It represented a rare burst of bi-partisanship in a bitterly divided Congress.
The legislation would continue a 2 percentage-point cut in the Social Security payroll tax, renew jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week for people languishing for long periods on unemployment rolls and protect doctors from a huge cut in their Medicare reimbursements.
The measure carries a price tag of roughly $150 billion over the coming year, partly financed by new auctions of telecommunications spectrum to wireless companies and by requiring newly-hired federal workers to contribute more toward their pensions. The pension provision was watered down from a version sought by House Republicans, and tentatively agreed to by key Democrats, that would have required current federal workers to contribute more to their defined benefit pensions.
The measure also includes a key adjustment to the badly broken Medicare payment formula for doctors, which would otherwise impose a 27 percent cut on March 1 under a 1997 budget law. The $20 billion cost would be covered in part by cuts to a fund created under Obama's health care law that awards grants for preventive care and by curbs on Medicaid payments to hospitals that care for a disproportionate share of uninsured patients.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/15/house-senate-deal-reached-on-payroll-tax-cut/#ixzz1mYg31jC2
Both sides gave up some so the bill would make it out of committee. Nicely done by both sides.