Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced H.R. 3630, The Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act. The legislation extends a number of provisions scheduled to expire at the end of the year and includes fully paid-for extensions of the payroll tax holiday and a reformed unemployment insurance program, along with a two-year freeze on cuts to doctors providing care to our nation’s seniors and disabled enrolled in Medicare. The legislation also extends and expands provisions to encourage employers to invest and hire.
“This bill is about strengthening our economy and getting Americans back to work through commonsense reforms,” said Camp. “In addition to helping create jobs, this bill will ensure America’s seniors and the disabled are protected by preventing massive cuts to doctors working in the Medicare program. This package includes many of the President’s own ideas. With its passage, Americans can be confident that these programs and provisions will be available next year, that they will not result in decades of debt and that they will be paid for with fiscally responsible reforms, not job-killing tax hikes.”
The legislation incorporates a wide range of long overdue reforms spanning across the Ways and Means Committee’s jurisdiction and that of many other committees. Within the purview of the Ways and Means Committee are:
Tax Provisions: Extends the payroll tax holiday to help middle class families struggling in this economy while protecting the Social Security Trust Funds and also extends 100 percent expensing to help employers expand and hire new workers. The President has endorsed both of these policies.
Medicare Provisions: Prevents a 27 percent cut to doctors serving Medicare patients and replaces it with payment updates in 2012 and 2013; reforms and extends temporary Medicare payment provisions to ambulance services; outpatient therapy services; assistance for low-income seniors; and physician payments in certain areas. Additionally, the legislation adopts a recommendation from President Obama that reduces subsidies to high-income seniors by requiring them to pay a greater share of their Part B and D premiums. This change alone reduces spending by $31 billion in the next decade.
Unemployment Insurance Provisions: Strengthens job search requirements in the unemployment insurance program; allows States to screen and test for drug use; increases State flexibility to design reemployment programs (including those supported by President Obama); reduces waste, fraud and abuse through increased program integrity measures like data standardization; and reduces the maximum weeks of unemployment benefits from 99 to 59 weeks – a level consistent with prior recessions. The weeks of benefits are immediately reduced by 20 and then, by adopting one of the President’s own policies, an additional 20 weeks are phased out by the middle of 2012 in all but four States.
Welfare Provisions: Extends through September 30, 2012 the nation’s primary welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is set to expire on December 31, 2011 while making some needed reforms to ensure that taxpayer funds are protected from abuse. Those reforms include bipartisan efforts to improve program integrity by requiring standardized data and Health and Human Services coordination of exchanges across State TANF programs, as well as closing the current “strip club loophole” to ensure welfare funds cannot be accessed at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos.
Repeals Provisions in the Democrats’ Health Care Law: Prevents $13.4 billion in wasteful overpayments of Exchange subsidies (the President has twice signed similar measures into law) and repeals provisions in the law that hurt physician-owned hospitals. The legislation also includes an additional $12 billion in reduced spending in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI): cutting $8 billion from the Harkin Prevention Fund and reducing Medicaid spending by more than $4 billion.
Provisions to Protect Taxpayer Dollars: Prevents fraud and abuse of the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) program by requiring individuals to include their Social Security number on their tax return in order to claim the credit. This legislation also incorporates a recommendation from President Obama to prevent Social Security overpayments by improving coordination with State and local governments.
Camp added, “In addition to reforms in the unemployment insurance program and Medicare, the legislation also cracks down on fraud and abuse in our nation’s welfare and tax credit programs. These reforms protect taxpayer dollars and, when paired with other reforms supported by President Obama, allow us to meet the needs facing America without adding to the debt.”
To access more detailed summaries of key Ways and Means provisions, click here.