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Chairman Camp Statement on Agreement to Extend the Payroll Tax Holiday, Reform Unemployment & Prevent Cuts to Medicare Doctors

February 17, 2012

Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), who chaired the House-Senate payroll conference committee, issued the following statement after the House passed the conference report for H.R. 3630, The Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act by a vote of 293-132: 

“The idea of a conference committee dates back to our Founding Fathers.  In their wisdom, they recognized Congress would often be divided.  They also knew that our responsibility to govern and find a path forward was equally important, and that is what has been accomplished through this legislation – a path forward. 

 “This agreement ensures middle-class Americans are not hit with a tax increase next month, while protecting the Social Security Trust Funds.  Because of the President’s failed economic policies, far too many families are still struggling and this tax relief is necessary.  However, we should remember that the real goal remains a strong, vibrant and job-creating economy, and true tax reform is the best way to get there.

“This package also gives some certainty and relief to our nation’s seniors who will have continued access to the doctors working with Medicare patients.  Preventing a massive cut in doctor reimbursement rates costs money, and we found that money not by borrowing more or taxing more, but by repealing and defunding wasteful portions of the Democrats’ health care law.

“The historic reforms to federal unemployment programs are an important part of this agreement.  These reforms will now help the unemployed get the training and resources they need to move from an unemployment check to a paycheck. The package overturns arcane 1960s-era regulations and allows states to drug screen and test those most at-risk.  In addition to securing these permanent reforms, the extension reduces weeks to a level more typical of previous economic recessions. However, unlike previous extensions, these temporary benefits are completely paid for and do not add to the deficit.  Stopping the runaway deficit spending on unemployment is a huge win for the American people.  These programs have added nearly $200 billion to our debt in the last three years alone.  Today, we have changed the way Washington works and demanded that these programs be fully paid for.

“Perhaps one aspect of this agreement that is most noteworthy is what is not included – there are no tax increases and no budget gimmicks.  Despite countless attempts to pay for these reforms with job-killing tax increases, this agreement does not raise taxes on families or employers.  It also doesn’t rely on budget gimmickry that would saddle future generations with even greater debt.

“The American people expect and deserve that their elected officials will work together.  These days that does not happen as often as it should.  I am pleased that together we have been able to work in a fiscally responsible way to achieve the reforms and relief that employers, workers, families and seniors have been looking for.”