Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) by a vote of 257 to 167. This bipartisan bill extends middle-class tax cuts, protects seniors' access to doctors, extends unemployment benefits, and ensures continued investment in economic growth. U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), a returning member of the Ways and Means Committee in the 113th Congress and a senior member of the House Budget Committee, voted in support of the measure.
"With tonight's action in Congress, we took a strong bipartisan step forward to provide economic security and certainty for middle-class families and American businesses. After months of difficult negotiations, Congress was able to avert the fiscal cliff and the harmful economic consequences that might have resulted. This legislation, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, permanently extends tax cuts for 99 percent of American families and small businesses, protects seniors' access to their doctors, makes vital investments that grow our economy, and expands affordability of college for millions of young people," said Rep. Schwartz.
"As we close out this Congress, we have reached resolution on a major issue facing this Congress and our nation: fairer tax policy for our families. American families and businesses will now have greater predictability and financial stability," said Schwartz.
While Schwartz strongly supported this bill, she called for further action in the new 113th Congress on a comprehensive, balanced approach to deficit reduction and economic growth.
"America continues to face serious fiscal challenges and I remain committed to finding solutions that strengthen our country, both now and into the future. In order to ensure America's future prosperity and growth, we must restore confidence in our capacity to reach agreement, strengthen the middle class and create an environment in which private sector jobs can grow," said Schwartz.
One of Congress' leading voices on Medicare, Schwartz expressed support for the one year Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) patch, but called for further action.
Schwartz said, "This agreement protects our seniors by preventing a drastic 27 percent cut to physicians who care for Medicare beneficiaries. However, it does not in any way relieve us of our responsibility to permanently repeal the broken Sustainable Growth Rate - which determines Medicare payment rates - and replace it with a new payment system that would contain costs and ensure better care for seniors. We must commit ourselves to full repeal during this next year, before the perennial threat of cuts at year's end, and set in place a new payment system that contains costs and rewards quality, efficiency and improved outcomes."
Key parts of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8):
Permanently extends tax cuts for middle class families, 99 percent of American taxpayers and small businesses.
Protects 26 million middle-class families from being hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax, including 60,000 in PA-13.
Extends unemployment benefits for Americans seeking work.
Delays across the board "sequester" cuts.
Protects 47 millions seniors' access to their doctors.
Provides vital parity for transit, helping southeast Pennsylvanians families commute to work.
Ensures our returning veterans have access to employment by extending business hiring tax credits.
Extends the research & development tax credit vital to job creation in southeastern Pennsylvania's economy.
Provides 30 million homeowners with property tax relief.
Helps millions of families better afford college with the tuition deduction.