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How Senate, House payroll bills differ

The House would extend the payroll tax cut through 2012 while the Senate would extend it only 2 months. The measures also differ on benefits for the unemployed.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 20, 2011 1:26PM

This post is by The Associated Press.

 

If you find you can't keep up with the payroll tax debate without a scorecard, you're not alone.

 

Here are the highlights of the competing pieces of legislation passed by the House and Senate last week:

 

House bill, approved Dec. 13:

  • Price tag more than $180 billion.
  • Keeps this year's 4.2% Social Security payroll tax rate paid by 160 million workers through the end of 2012, instead of letting it rise to 6.2% on Jan. 1.
  • Extends expiring benefits for the long-term jobless through 2012, but at a maximum of 79 weeks coverage, less in some cases, which is well below this year's 99-week limit. Revamps program to require beneficiaries without high school diplomas to seek an equivalent degree; lets states test applicants for illegal drug use.
  • Prevents 27% cut in Medicare payments to doctors for 2012.
  • Blocks Obama administration rule curbing pollution from industrial boilers.
  • Extends tax break for businesses buying equipment for 2012.
  • Requires President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days unless he declares the project would not serve the national interest.
  • Paid for by extending current pay freeze on civilian federal workers another year through 2013 and requiring them to contribute more toward their pensions; raises fee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge for insuring mortgages; raises Medicare premiums paid by higher-income elderly; cuts some health care overhaul law programs; sells part of broadcast spectrum; prevents illegal immigrant parents from collecting child tax credit refund checks; bars food stamps, unemployment benefits for the wealthy.

Senate bill, approved Saturday:

  • Price tag $33 billion.
  • Extends 2-percentage-point cut in Social Security payroll tax through Feb. 29.
  • Renews benefits for the long-term unemployed at current levels through Feb. 29, no other changes in program.
  • Prevents 27% cut in Medicare payments to doctors; extends other health care fees through Feb. 29.
  • Requires President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days unless he declares the project would not serve the national interest. This is the same as the House provision.
  • Paid for by increasing home loan guarantee fees charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by one-tenth of 1 percentage point. The fee is passed on to home buyers and will apply to many new purchases and refinancings starting Jan. 1.

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13Comments
Dec 20, 2011 2:42PM
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Lets see.  Keep cutting the payroll tax so the SS trust fund is even is worse shape than it is already.  Guess the 58% that wants to keep the cut probably hasn't read the fine print that when they do get so SS their benefits might be cut.  Guess they're planning to work until they die.

Anyways, if I had the cut, I'd bee paying off debt, not continuing to spend like a drunken sailor..

Congress an Obama really don't have a clue.
Dec 20, 2011 4:36PM
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Congress should not have cut the payroll tax in the first place.  America has to just suck it up and get get through the pain. Quit  wining, cut spending.
Dec 20, 2011 2:27PM
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Wow!   House bill much better than Senate.  Longer term (2 months in Senate Bill is pointless), far more comprehensive, keeps vital 60-day kickout on Keystone.  Go House!!!!
Dec 20, 2011 5:09PM
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Keep in mind, the house passed it's bill first. The Senate rejected that bill and came up with it's own. Now, the house has rejected the Senate bill. Who's refusing to compromise? The house is sitting there waiting. The Senate is saying that we're not coming back. BO has said time and again that piecemeal is no way to run a government. Now, all of the sudden it's OK again. To me it's simple. BO talks about infrastructure spending, shovel ready projects. The pipeline is sitting ready to go. Canada has said they'll move it to comply. The unions want it, BUT he wants the green vote through this election. We've been building pipelines for years. This is not new technology. Does it have anything to do with unemployment?? You figure?? In Dec, 2012, the GWB tax cuts expire----might as well just go for it and get our whole house back in order, payroll tax and all. 
Dec 20, 2011 8:38PM
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The Federal Governments job from the very start was to manage government and hold down political unrest. Now the Federal Government may not be able to hold the the political unrest if the people in America begin to see that Federal Government is not for the people by the people.
Dec 21, 2011 8:48AM
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You expect too much from the politicians who are in office. They are in it for the money, a job that pays pretty decent and a pensions are better than any retirements. It's just a government jobs for them.
Dec 20, 2011 6:28PM
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Damn them all in Washington!  Nothing has been done to help the working poor (a.k.a. old Middle Class) all year.

 

2012 is not only the year of the Mayan calendar (12-21-2012), but the year that all the present Washington legislators (11-06-2012) will no longer have a job as the 99% will vote every incumbent out of office for doing nothing to help us....

 

"If I had a hammer...."

Dec 21, 2011 7:45PM
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I still don't understand why the media constantly takes Obama and the Senate's proposal on this, when their solution is only for 2 months. So 2 months later, we'll be back at this, more panic to pass a bill. I've never seen an administration where we have constant worry about being able to pass a budget, expiring bill, etc. The divided House/Senate is the main culprit, but still, the whoel thing is just very amateur. The House and Boehner take all the blame, but when you look at the Senate proposals (for a 2 month solution), it's just an asinine proposal by the Senate. 
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How come the AARP hasn't voiced any concern about what the payroll tax reduction does to the Social Security funds? A few months ago, the depletion of Social Security was a hot topic, but now that less money is flowing into the system, it isn't. WHY?
Dec 22, 2011 12:35PM
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The only federal workers pay and benefits that should be changed is pay for congressmen. Do nothing congress should be paid for the amount of work that they do-NOTHING. Kick the bums out and Buy American and support our Troops.
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It seems to me that this article has tnot discussed the various other riders made a part of the House bill, including the pipeling bringing shale oil down from Canada, as well other pet GOP issues, which were not directly dealt with in the Senate Bill as a result of the short term of the extension..   This is pretty much what CNN did when discussing the claimed issues with a GOP representitive this morning which discussion also totally ignored the pipeline.     Why?
Dec 22, 2011 3:59PM
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Damn them all in Washington!  Nothing has been done to help the working poor (a.k.a. old Middle Class) all year.

 

2012 is not only the year of the Mayan calendar (12-21-2012), but the year that all the present Washington legislators (11-06-2012) will no longer have a job as the 99% will vote every incumbent out of office for doing nothing to help us....

 

"If I had a hammer...."

Dec 21, 2011 6:24PM
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Boehner can't rein in the TPers on this one - again! Tpers want all those lovely 'big business' breaks with no pollution controls attached. Not only does the GOP tell us 'Let them eat cake', it's dirty cake to boot! Thank you President Obama for not falling for this GOP crap. Let the GOP eat crap this time.
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