Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, a measure to permanently extend lower tax rates and avoid the fiscal cliff. The legislation:
* Maintains tax cuts for more than 99 percent of the American people and permanently extends current rates for most taxpayers
* Extends unemployment insurance for more than 1 million jobless individuals
* Averts a steep decrease in the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors to ensure seniors continue to receive quality healthcare
* Maintains the current top tax rate on capital gains and dividends up to $450,000 for couples.
* Preserves the current inheritance tax exemption limit of $5.1 million
* Fixes permanently the Alternative Minimum Tax for 30 million Americans
* Extends the current Farm Bill for one year at no cost to the American people, ensuring a safety net for producers, and a quality, affordable food supply for the American people.
* Turns off the Sequester for two months, and offsets the costs with a reduction in the discretionary spending cap for 2013 and 2014.
"By making these lower tax rates permanent, we create certainty for American families and businesses. That certainty will stimulate business investment to create more jobs and economic growth, which will produce more revenues to reduce our deficit and debt, without raising taxes.
"While I would have preferred, and worked hard toward, a more comprehensive fiscal cliff agreement that includes pro-growth tax reform, bipartisan entitlement reform and finding real savings to address the deficit and debt, what we passed today was an important first step that will spare the vast majority of the American people from an onerous income tax increase.
"Now, we need to work in a bipartisan way to achieve real savings to reduce our deficit and debt, as well as enact bipartisan entitlement reforms to preserve those programs for the long-term."