Lipinski Votes to Extend Middle-Class Payroll Tax Cut, Preserve Unemployment Benefits, Stop Medicare Cuts – Urges More Deficit Reduction (02/17/2012)

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) voted to temporarily extend the payroll tax cut for the hard-hit middle class, preserve extended unemployment benefits for Americans struggling to find work, and prevent a Medicare cut that would threaten seniors’ access to their doctors. The extension of the payroll tax cut through the end of the year prevents a tax hike of $1,000 for the typical family. The legislation also requires that money from the general fund be deposited into the Social Security Trust Fund to make up for the lost payroll tax revenue and ensure that Social Security’s finances are not harmed and seniors will continue to receive their promised benefits.

"I am glad the two parties were finally able to reach a deal that avoids a tax hike on the middle class at a time of continuing high unemployment, prevents the end of extended unemployment benefits for Americans who cannot find a job despite their best efforts, and stops Medicare cuts that would have threatened seniors’ access to their doctors," Rep. Lipinski said. "Failure to take action on these matters would have hurt tens of millions of Americans.

"However, I am disappointed that the two sides were only able to offset a portion of the costs. The inability to reach agreement on how to pay for this legislation is another failure and shows the need for greater bipartisanship in Washington. Having voted for the bipartisan, $2.1 trillion deficit reduction package in August and for a Balanced Budget Amendment, I believe we must act to reduce the national debt. I also believe we must be vigilant to ensure that the payroll tax cut does not form a precedent that results in any weakening of Social Security for those who rely on it.

"Congress needs to stop the partisan bickering and focus on finding common ground to do what is right for the American people. From the beginning, I urged both parties to work together to quickly address the expiration of the payroll tax cut, extend emergency unemployment insurance, and preserve access to care for seniors on Medicare – and then immediately turn their attention to job creation. Instead, the talks dragged on for months, nearly blew up and resulted in a tax hike in December, and finally ended this week in a bill that – while better than the alternative – came up short in one important respect. The country is sick of the partisanship in Washington, and so am I. We can and must do better."