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Gerlach Votes to Continue Working on a Full Year of Middle Class Tax Relief

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) voted Tuesday to require Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to come back to work and give 160 million American workers a full one-year payroll tax cut extension -- something that the House has already approved.

Gerlach voted in favor of a House resolution disagreeing with the U.S. Senate's decision to reduce the one-year payroll tax cut extension the House passed last week to just a two-month extension. Gerlach also voted to establish a House and Senate conference committee to continue working on finding common ground for a full, one-year extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation reform. The conference committee also would work on finding a longer-term solution than the Senate's 60-day gimmick for avoiding looming cuts in Medicare reimbursements for physicians who treat seniors enrolled in Medicare.

H.R. 3630 passed the House by a 229-193 margin.

"Workers, families, seniors and doctors in the 6th District deserve more than a 60-day stocking stuffer from Congress this holiday season," Gerlach said. "The proposal the Senate passed is 305 days too short. No one can make decisions based on policies that will last just slightly longer than a free trial subscription to Netflix.

"The Senate's temporary gimmick would only contribute to the already widespread uncertainty forcing businesses to hold off on hiring workers and putting a damper on economic growth. In addition, the Senate's temporary gimmick basically tells seniors on Medicare that if they are planning on getting any kind of treatment, they'd better make an appointment in the next 60 days or there might not be a doctor to care for them after that. It is just absurd to leave doctors and seniors in limbo. The Senate needs to come back to work and finish the job by providing a full year of middle class tax relief and ending the threat of a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians."

Groups representing businesses of all sizes agreed that a temporary, two-month extension of the payroll tax cut would drive up costs and create huge headaches for employers.

"A two-month extension of the current reduced payroll tax rate, with the implicit rise in that rate in the first quarter of 2011, would exacerbate and escalate the uncertainty about fiscal policies that has inhibited business activity and slowed economic recovery and job creation for the last several years," the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.

ABC News reported that the nonpartisan National Payroll Reporting Consortium sent a letter to House and Senate Committee leaders explaining that the two-month payroll tax holiday "could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees."

Other groups representing small businesses opposed to the Senate's two-month gimmick include:

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Associated Builders and Contractors
Associated General Contractors
National Roofing Contractors Association
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
Last week, Gerlach helped the House pass the proposed Middle-Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act. H.R. 3630 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 234-193 and with the support of 10 Democrats.

The legislation included a one-year extension of a federal payroll tax cut that would save workers earning $50,000 per year $1,000; stops a looming 27 percent cut in the reimbursements for doctors treating seniors enrolled in Medicare; provides several incentives for businesses of all sizes to hire workers and grow; and reforms the unemployment compensation system and extends jobless benefits for those out of work.

Instead of raising tax rates that would hurt families and discourage hiring or relying on more borrowing from China and other foreign countries, the House plan would be paid for by requiring millionaires to repay any unemployment compensation they collect, freezing the pay for members of Congress and all federal workers and wiping out wasteful Washington spending in several federal agencies.

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