U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R--Miss.) today applauded House passage of a conference report that extends current payroll tax relief, reforms unemployment insurance and prevents cuts to physicians caring for Medicare beneficiaries.
The House-Senate package was produced by a group of 20 bipartisan negotiators. While the legislation does not include everything the respective lawmakers pushed for, members on both sides of the aisle voiced approval of provisions included in the package.
"From day one, House Republicans made it clear that we would stand in firm opposition of job-crushing tax increases," said Harper. "As a result, negotiators included short-term solutions that turn our country from the failed tax-and-spend policies of the White House to the pro-growth reforms necessary to promote job growth and make America more competitive."
The conference report accompanying H.R. 3630 provides an extension of the current two percent Social Security payroll tax holiday through December 31, 2012. A typical middle-class worker earning $50,000 annually should see a $1,000 increase in their take-home pay over the course of a year.
This agreement reduces the maximum number of weeks of eligibility for unemployment benefits for states at the national unemployment average by 30 weeks beginning in September. States with jobless rates above 9 percent will see their benefits ceiling reduced from 99 to 73 weeks.
Among other unemployment reforms, the report overturns a 1960s-era Labor Department ban on states' drug testing unemployment insurance applicants. States will also be granted flexibility in administering their job search programs.
Doctors facing a 27.4 percent Medicare reimbursement reduction will see steady payment rates for the remainder of the year, ensuring that seniors and disabled citizens continue to have access to care.
Spending for the unemployment reforms and health-related provisions is offset by a series of federal reductions, including the drawdown of repayments to hospitals for bad debt and a cutback in a prevention and public health fund created in the president's health reform law commonly referred to as "ObamaCare."
"Our economy continues to face a sluggish recovery. This agreement is a step in the right direction. But ultimately, our economic woes will not be reversed until we advance the 30 House-passed jobs bills that aim to end the uncertainty hurdling small business owners," Harper added.