Today, the U.S. House passed the 3 percent withholding repeal and the veterans jobs package by a vote of 422-0. As part of his Bay State Jobs Agenda, U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) originally authored the 3 percent withholding repeal, as well as the tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed veterans. With the legislation having passed both houses of Congress, it will now go to President Obama to be signed into law. Senator Brown issued the following statement on today's House vote:
"I congratulate my colleagues in the House for passing this bipartisan, commonsense jobs bill for our small businesses and veterans. After months of gridlock, I hope this breakthrough leads to more progress on behalf of the millions of Americans looking for work. It's clear that sincere, bipartisan jobs legislation can bridge the divide and get enough votes to pass. I hope to stand with President Obama at the White House when he signs this bill into law."
The underlying bill, the 3 percent withholding repeal, was originally introduced as the Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2011 and championed by Senator Brown. The legislation repeals, in section 3402(t) of the Internal Revenue Code, the 3 percent contracting withholding law which mandates that federal, state, and local governments withhold 3 percent of nearly all contract payments made to private companies, as well as Medicare payments, farm payments, and certain grants. The provision has generated huge opposition from industry groups and some local governments, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) considers it an unfunded mandate on local governments. This 3 percent stealth tax was scheduled to hit companies across the country at the beginning of 2013.
The veterans jobs amendment will expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to incentivize the hiring of unemployed veterans, which closely mirrors the Hire A Hero Act introduced by Senator Brown. The amendment also contains elements of the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, of which Senator Brown was the original Republican cosponsor.
In January, Senator Brown introduced the bipartisan Hire A Hero Act and the bipartisan Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2011 as part of a package of six bills intended to boost job growth in the Bay State. After nine months of steady advocacy from Senator Brown and dozens of discussions with veterans groups and small businesses, these policies won bipartisan support and overcame the partisan gridlock to pass the Senate and the House.