Congressman Jerry Lewis Tuesday backed a House of Representatives effort to approve legislation that would extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension for another year, arguing that putting off the decision will continue the kind of partisan bickering that has Americans so angry toward Congress.
"The two-month temporary extension approved by the Senate is exactly the kind of government meddling that causes business owners to delay hiring because of the uncertainty of what they will face in the months ahead," Congressman Jerry Lewis said. "It is absolutely unconscionable that the Senate would kick this down the road for such blatantly political reasons, leaving both workers and employers completely in the dark over what the ultimate outcome will be."
"The House in a bipartisan vote approved a way to pay for this payroll tax cut for an entire year, as well as extending and reforming unemployment insurance and keeping Medicare payments to doctors at sensible levels for two years," Lewis said. "Voters should be angry at the Senate for making no discernable effort to solve the problem, just putting it off for a couple of months. They should stay in Washington and finish the job now."
The House Tuesday voted to support the yearlong plan approved last week rather than accept the Senate amendment that did nothing but put the decision off for two months. House members appointed conference committee members to resolve the differences between the House and Senate version of the bills.
In addition to the payroll tax cut extension and unemployment reform, the House bill approved a fix to avert a Medicare physician payment reduction and sustain the current reimbursement level through December 31, 2013. Without that fix, automatic rate changes could reduce payments for Medicare by up to 30 percent, causing many doctors to leave the program.
The House bill included cuts in spending in a number of programs to offset the increases in Medicare and unemployment, as well as to reimburse the Social Security trust fund for the loss of the payroll tax funds. It also included language requiring the administration to give approval to the Keystone XL pipeline -- which will create thousands of new jobs -- or explain why the project is not in the national interest.