GOP leaders propose extension of payroll tax cuts

By Jazmin Jett |Staff Writer|

San Bernardino county at 16 percent unemployment may have something to look forward to with the proposed extension on payroll tax cuts.

The House of Representatives and U.S. Senate plan to extend a payroll tax cut and expand unemployment benefits. The anticipation is for a decision by Feb. 17.

An extension of long-term unemployment benefits could be potentially included within the “$160 billion package,” a package to offset trimming federal workers’ pay and other domestic cuts that Democrats refute.

Though the extension was passed in late December, it was due to the Republican and Democratic parties’ reluctance to agree. Eventually, differing proposals were presented by either party in regards to how the cost of the tax cut extension would be funded.

Democrats suggested a surtax on those with a $1 million or more income while Republicans said the $160 billion cost should be taken care of by reducing the pay of federal employees.

Minority whip Steny Hoyer, Sen. Ben Cardin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, all members of the payroll tax conference committee, are suggesting that pension cuts be compensated with a reduction in federal pay.

On Feb. 13, an extension of the tax cut became more likely when Republicans surprisingly withdrew from their previous request that other programs be used for funding for the payroll tax rollback. Over 150 million Americans would have been affected by such a decision.

Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors and emergency unemployment benefits are to be settled by the evening of Feb. 15 by House and Senate negotiators.

The budget proposed by Obama on Feb. 13, instantly ridiculed by Republicans, is to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion but the proposal will in fact increase the deficit.

His proposal was referred to as a “job killer,” in that it would increase taxes on high-income earners and corporations.

“I’m not interested in asking one worker in America to take a cut in his salary or compensation so we can make sure that another American can continue to have a payroll-tax cut or receive his unemployment insurance,” said Xavier Becerra, vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

A portion of liberal Democrats suggested they would agree with GOP’s cuts to ensure Pres. Obama’s payroll tax cut extension, hence an early triumph during his election year.

It is the President’s intent to host an event accompanied by Americans who’d deal with the aftermath of Congress’ decision on whether or not to extend the tax cut. Such Americans have expressed the impact a $40 check would have on them.

“But let’s be honest, this is an economic relief package, not a bill that’s going to grow the economy and create jobs,” said House speaker John Boehner.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties’ aides agree that removing the concern with payroll will bring forth an abrupt agreement between the two parties. They assume a continuance of negotiations regarding the “doc-fix” and unemployment benefit extension.


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