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Payroll tax cut passed not necessarily to spur growth, but to provide economic relief in the wake of Obama's disastrous policies.

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Congress approves payroll tax cut

Payroll tax cut passed not necessarily to spur growth, but to provide economic relief in the wake of Obama’s disastrous policies.

A limited payroll tax cut was approved by Congress Friday that is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama and will give an estimated 160 million workers an additional $10 in weekly pay this year.

The package also included more funding for unemployment checks and was passed in the House on a bipartisan vote of 293-132 — those voting “no” included 91 Republicans and 41 Democrats. 

The Senate quickly followed with a vote of 60-36, with 30 Republicans and six Democrats voting no.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the measure was not intended to spur growth, but was meant to provide economic relief.

“The only reason the provisions at the core of this measure are even necessary is because the president’s economic policies have failed,” Boehner said. “It is also unfortunate that this agreement is only partially offset because of Democrats’ refusal to consider common-sense, bipartisan spending cuts, many of which were drawn from the president’s own budget.”

Negotiations have been ongoing between the two parties in the House and Senate since December, and the compromise was reached earlier this week after the Republicans dropped their demands that the $100 billion Social Security tax cut be paid for, and Democrats agreed to significantly reduce the length of time for unemployment checks.

Several Democrats and Republicans expressed their displeasure that the tax cut means $100 billion less going into the already struggling Social Security program.

“I never thought I would have to see the day when a Democratic president of the United States and a Democratic vice president would agree to put Social Security in this kind of jeopardy,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “Never did I ever imagine a Democratic president would be the beginning of the unraveling of Social Security.”

However, Obama praised leaders of both parties and said they did “the right thing for our families and for our economy.”

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) echoed those sentiments: “I’m not saying anything disparaging about the leadership on both sides of the aisle and both bodies, but we are taking money away from the Social Security trust fund and substituting that with an IOU that may or may not ever be paid.”

The legislation provides payment to doctors for services covered under Medicare, and pays for most of that through an $11.6 billion cut to ObamaCare. Another $5 billion was cut from the Prevention and Public Health Fund and reduces Medicaid spending by $4.1 billion.

Under the arrangement to fund unemployment, Democrats agreed to cut 20 weeks of payments and states will be allowed to require drug testing for recipients. Additionally, the bill bans strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos from accepting payments through welfare benefits.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), called the drug testing requirement “common-sense rules,” and that while the tax cuts were not offset, the additional spending was matched with new spending cuts.

“This is a significant victory for those of us concerned about the national debt,” Camp said.

“Not everyone likes everything in here,” Camp said, but both sides “scored significantly” in the agreement.

The earlier version of the bill required that the tax cuts be paid for. “It was good public policy, but it ended up not being good politics,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.).

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) agreed: “This current deal is not good policy — but it is political posturing.”

 

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Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events‚?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey‚??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co

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