America

Congress Passes Payroll Tax Extension

Both the House and Senate today voted to renew a payroll tax cut that benefits 160 million workers, as well as extending benefits to millions of unemployed Americans.

The Republican-controlled House voted 293-132, followed quickly by a simple majority vote in the Senate.

The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Workers would continue to receive the 2 percentage-point cut in the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax — as much as $2,200 for high-income earners.

The Associated Press reports:

Passage of the legislation also hands Obama a political win over objections from many Republicans who oppose it but were eager to wipe the issue from the election-year agenda. Opposition was particularly strong in the Senate, where Republicans signaled they would allow the measure to pass with a simple majority — instead of the filibuster-proof 60 votes typically required. That was a signal they want the measure to pass but don't want to vote for it and the $89 billion it would add to the nation's $15 trillion-plus debt.

Reuters says:

The legislation, which would add $100 billion to the U.S. deficit and is aimed at further stimulating the economy ... next goes to the Democratic-led Senate, where it is expected to pass later in the day.

The New York Times weighs in:

Republicans who said they supported the deal said they had won several important concessions during the talks, such as imposing new conditions and limits on unemployment compensation, and making a significant cut in the preventive-health spending called for by the health care overhaul that Democrats pushed through Congress in 2010.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.