Washington (Feb 16) – Senator Baucus (D-MT) announced late Wednesday night that the House Senate committee had reached a deal regarding the extension of much-needed aid to working Americans and the long-term unemployed. House Speaker Boehner stated, the measure could be voted on in the House by Friday.
The deal would compromise on unemployment extensions lowering the number of maximum weeks claimants could receive payments in states suffering the worse jobless numbers to 73-weeks down from the original 99. Also, absent from the bill, the mandates Republican lawmakers were pushing to require drug testing for all unemployed recipients, and the clause that would disallow those without a GED or high school diploma from collecting benefits.
In addition, the two percent Payroll Tax reduction will remain in effect at least through the end of the year.
Republican lawmakers fearing a backlash from the nearly 160 million working Americans who’ve benefited from the Payroll Tax cut during an election year was the primary motivation for the change in an otherwise, staunch pro-upper class stance that congressional republicans have taken over the past decade.
Portions of the $150 billion bill would be offset by the auction of additional RF Spectrum to wireless companies in addition to, requiring newcomers to the federal employee payroll to contribute more to their own retirement plan.
Boehner doing a double take, attempted to shift the blame regarding the current tax structure favoring the nation’s 1 percent, onto the Democrats claiming he alone, wanted to avoid raising taxes on working Americans via an increase to the Payroll Tax levels back to the 6.2 percent. Democrats hammered out this measure in December 2010 as part of President Obama’s plan to bolster the nation’s economy and attempt to offset the extremely lopsided tax system placed into effect by the former administration.