Congressman Kevin Yoder today voted in favor of extending a payroll tax cut that ensures taxes are not raised on 160 million Americans. In addition to the tax cut extension, the bill includes legislation providing certainty to seniors receiving Medicare -- ensuring doctors are reimbursed for providing needed services -- as well as reforms the unemployment insurance benefits program. A rare occurrence today, members from the House and Senate reached a bipartisan agreement on legislation well before the end-of-February deadline. The payroll tax cut extension passed the House earlier this morning by a bipartisan vote of 293-132, passing the Senate shortly after.
"I don't believe raising taxes on any Americans will help create jobs. With the record levels of spending in Washington today, raising taxes will not solve any of our financial problems. Now, I look forward to moving on to the tough discussions of our nation's finances, including working to pass a federal budget that reduces government spending and actually puts us on a pathway towards black ink," said Yoder.
The payroll tax cut extension allows a typical American worker earning a yearly salary of $50,000 to keep an additional $1000 in their pocket. Further, the bill protects seniors needing medical treatment by ensuring reimbursements for doctors are not cut by twenty-seven percent. This allows seniors to continue to have the access they need to physicians serving Medicare beneficiaries. Lastly, the bill cuts twenty weeks of available unemployment benefits by eliminating the "Extended Benefits" program. By the end of 2012, most states will phase down to offering a maximum of sixty-three weeks of benefits. The unemployment benefit reforms will also give states increased flexibility in both requiring applicants to prove they are searching for work and drug testing unemployment benefit recipients.
Yoder also applauded the bill's inventive offset language stating that future broadband internet spectrum auctions will help pay for the extension of the unemployment benefits and Medicare doctor reimbursements. The bill also allows for the construction of a public safety broadband network, giving first-responders additional resources to protect our communities. Both the spectrum auction and the public safety network are expected to increase employment opportunities in the telecommunications field in the 3rd District and across Kansas.