Senate passes payroll tax cut and spending bill

December 17, 2011 by staff 

Senate passes payroll tax cut and spending bill, The U.S. Senate voted to extend an expiring payroll tax cut for two months, with lawmakers concluding their work for the year by putting the same tax cut on their agenda for early in 2012.

Today’s 89-10 vote sends the $33 billion measure to the U.S. House of Representatives, where lawmakers could vote as soon as Dec. 19 to send it to President Barack Obama. The bill extends emergency unemployment benefits, prevents doctors from having Medicare reimbursements cut and calls on Obama to decide on approving a Canadian oil pipeline within 60 days.

The short-term agreement will give a temporary reprieve to workers concerned about seeing their take-home pay decline. Even as most senators voted for the compromise reached by Republican and Democratic leaders Dec. 16, many leaving the Capitol today said they weren’t satisfied with their work.

“We’re just becoming more of an extenders Congress, a short-term Congress, a maintenance Congress, and that makes our work here more difficult,” Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who chairs the Finance Committee, told reporters. “More importantly, it causes much more uncertainty among people in the country. It’s really a disservice to the country.”

Obama urged the House to pass the bill and said he would sign it.

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