Lucas County’s two congressmen — Democrat Marcy Kaptur and Republican Bob Latta — and Monroe-area Rep. John Dingell portrayed the payroll tax agreement approved Friday in Washington as a start.
The House and Senate approved a measure to extend for two months the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and Medicare reimbursement rates.
If the bill had failed, the current 2-percent payroll tax reduction would have expired Jan. 1., costing a person earning $50,000 a year about $20 per week.
Congress approved the two-month extension of those items as a matter of unanimous consent - a procedure that allowed the Senate bill to be approved on a voice vote with most House members already gone for the holiday break.
“We’re living at the edge,” said Miss Kaptur, of Toledo. “Maybe over the holidays some of those involved in this brinksmanship will come to their senses and put America on a smooth glide path for 2012, at least the part that the government can do something about.”
“The best thing is that over Christmas those families have temporary relief. It gives them eight more weeks. For those families that get a tax holiday for two more months they know at least now they can guarantee those two months,” she said.
Miss Kaptur said the “stop-and-start” nature of the negotiations is creating uncertainty for businesses that need to plan their tax liability for 2012 and for medical providers that need to know the Medicare reimbursement rates.
Mr. Latta, of Bowling Green, issued a statement noting that the Democratic-run Senate had agreed to appoint a conference committee to try to merge the two conflicting Senate and House measures that would create a 12-month solution.
The appointment of a conference committee is significant to House Republicans who started out refusing to agree to a two-month extension and then did so under pressure.
“The livelihood of hard-working Americans can’t continue to depend on two-month deals and that is why I will keep working to ensure a long-term package solution occurs in January. The Senate and House need to achieve a yearlong deal that provides hardworking taxpayers, seniors, and doctors with the certainty they need to plan ahead in this tough economy,” Mr. Latta said.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D., Dearborn), whose district includes Monroe County, praised the bipartisan payroll tax extension in a prepared statement.
“I truly hope this is a lesson for my colleagues that working together on solutions for the American people is more valuable than playing politics. The American people deserve better not only this holiday season, but from their elected representatives year-round," Mr. Dingell said.
He issued a wish of the New Year of members of Congress "actually working together to restore prosperity, provide jobs for the American people and address the problems related to the huge budget deficit and tremendous national debt."