Summary of H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act:
Extends Current Payroll Tax Relief
The bill provides a one-year extension of the temporary payroll tax relief enacted in 2010. The measure ensures taxes will not increase on the nearly 170 million Americans who currently pay payroll taxes, saving the average American family $1,000 in 2012.
Extends the Unemployment Insurance Program & Implements Common-Sense Reforms
The bill extends unemployment insurance (UI) program benefits while implementing permanent reforms to strengthen UI. Recognizing that unemployment services should focus on helping Americans get back to work, the bill uses a two-step process to gradually reduce current maximum weeks of benefits from 99 to 59 weeks, a common-sense level that is in line with past recessions and economic downturns. H.R. 3630 also requires all state and federal UI recipients to, as a condition of eligibility, search for work, enroll in a GED program if they have not finished high school (with exceptions for older workers), and participate in reemployment services to help them get back to work. Additionally, the measure allows states, if they desire, to perform drug screening and testing as a condition of providing UI benefits in order to improve prospects for future employment.
Helps Create Jobs
The bill accelerates a final decision on the Keystone XL energy pipeline – requiring a permit be granted within 60 days unless the President determines the project is not in the national interest. Similar legislation passed the House with bipartisan support earlier this year. The measure extends 100% business expensing through 2012 to make it easier for employers of all sizes to invest in new machinery and equipment, grow their businesses, and create jobs. The bill stops the onerous new boiler MACT rule and requires the Obama administration to develop a more sensible alternative that balances the need to protect both jobs and the environment. Similar legislation passed the House in a bipartisan fashion earlier this fall.
Includes Two-Year “Doc Fix”
The bill ensures Medicare beneficiaries maintain their current level of care by implementing a two-year “doc fix” that protects Medicare physicians from large reimbursement cuts scheduled to take place next year.
Offsets Payroll and UI Extension through Spending Cuts, Not Tax Increases
The bill includes spending cuts in government programs – not tax increases on job creators – to fully pay for extending current payroll tax relief and UI benefits. This includes extending the current pay freeze for federal workers, including Members of Congress, eliminating government benefits for millionaires and billionaires, and reforming entitlement programs – many ideas for which President Obama has already expressed support.