Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) today voted against H.R. 3630, the so-called Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which, among other things, would block a major cut to physicians' Medicare reimbursement rates, reduce the number of weeks laid-off workers can receive unemployment benefits, and impose new restrictions on unemployed Americans seeking unemployment benefits. Although the bill is expected to fail in the Senate, Butterfield said the bill would drop 180,505 North Carolinians from receiving long-term unemployment, and put an undue strain on state healthcare providers.
"This is a misleading Republican bill that appears to extend a number of essential programs, but instead gives political freebies to conservatives," said Butterfield. "As if attempting to cut long-term unemployment benefits by 40 weeks was not egregious enough, the financial offsets contained in this bill go too far by significantly undercutting much-needed tax and healthcare programs. While I support fixing the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, we should not shift the burden to hospitals, essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul."
Some of the cost offsets in H.R. 3630 include increasing Medicare premiums on higher-income beneficiaries, cutting funds for preventive health programs, extending the pay freeze for federal employees, and requiring federal workers to contribute more towards their retirement.
Earlier today, the Executive Office of the President issued a Statement of Administration Policy strongly opposing the measure. The statement said, "If the President were presented with H.R. 3630, he would veto the bill."