Congress Gives Obama a Win on Payroll Tax Cut

The commander in chief has a reason to celebrate over his recent payroll tax cut victory

(Image: Official White House Photo)

Before leaving for a district workweek, congressional lawmakers handed President Obama a victory by passing legislation to extend the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment program without the typical knock-down-drag-out fight.

“Congress did the right thing and extended the payroll tax cut for working Americans through the rest of the year. That’s about $1,000 for the typical American family,” said Obama.  “And that’s part of what lifted the economy when it was on the verge of a Great Depression.”

But many did so with a great deal of reluctance. Some individuals may have their unemployment benefits cut by 30 weeks. In addition, newly hired federal workers will be required to pay a higher percentage of their salaries in contributions, which will help pay for the unemployment measure in the bill, and the “doc fix” to ensure doctors are fully compensated for serving Medicare patients.

“Our federal employees are not a piggy bank. We should not reach into their pockets every time we need to pay for something. In return for their hard work and dedication, the majority has rewarded federal workers with an unprecedented assault on their compensation and benefits,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), who along with 131 other House members voted against the bill. “Federal workers have already contributed $60 billion toward the reduction of our federal deficit. They are now being asked to pay for even more, while we refuse to ask millionaires and billionaires to contribute one additional penny.”

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) also voted nay, saying that he could not “in good conscience fully support” the bill, although he’s pleased that 160 million Americans will benefit from the payroll tax cut and millions more will continue to receive unemployment insurance while looking for work.

“Time and time again, the Republican Leadership has asked a single group of Americans to bear the burden of reducing the deficit. Federal employees have already sacrificed $60 billion through pay freezes, toward reducing our deficit,” Cleaver said.  “This is a clear assault on our public servants, the majority of whom work throughout our nation as police officers, mechanics, lawyers, environmentalists, nurses, mine inspectors and more.”

The bill adds $101 billion to the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate, which means that Obama and lawmakers could find themselves in a battle over raising the nation’s debt ceiling just before the November elections.

  • IGotAComment

    As an American with half Hispanic descent, I agree completely with Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) decision not to vote for the payroll tax cut. Obama was/is using it only as ploy because of the upcoming Nov 2012 Presidential election.

    As one guy who was made an example months ago during the first theft or rape of Social Security and thus our elders Medicare, said he was going to be able to enjoy a night out with his family eating pizza. Was that the first submission he received in his quest for ‘the public’ use of $40 per week … or just the best response.

    I must, however, disagree with your “This is a clear assault on our public servants, the majority of whom work throughout our nation as police officers, mechanics, lawyers, environmentalists, nurses, mine inspectors and more.” These ‘public servants’ get paid much more than their non-governmental counterparts and are likely less productive when you add up the total costs or benefits are each group. Additionally, their positions are more or less guaranteed with ‘firing’ much more difficult than non-governmental employees.

    What the Conservatives want changed before taxes are increased is assurance that there will be no more Solyndras (executives paid excess salaries and bonuses even after going into backruptcy), no more bailouts of private corporations (like GM where the unions benefited and shareholders lost out), and the biggest eventual financial loss – ObamaCare.

    You want us to raise the dividends tax rate on retired folks who have worked their entire lives from 15% to 39+%. How is that fair? They have already lost so much with the Democrats forcing banks to loan money to people who were using unemployment income as evidence of being able to pay for the monthly mortgage payments. This started under Carter and has continued through Clinton with Frank Raines being the worst and last according to a Time Magazine Special:
    “The mess that Fannie Mae has become is the progeny of many parents: Congress, which created Fannie in 1938 and loaded it down with responsibilities; President Lyndon Johnson, who in 1968 pushed it halfway out the government nest and into a problematic part-private, part-public role in an attempt to reduce the national debt; and Jim Johnson, who presided over Fannie’s spectacular growth in the 1990s. But it was Johnson’s successor, Raines, who was at the helm when things really went off course. A former Clinton Administration Budget Director, Raines was the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company when he took the helm in 1999. He left in 2004 with the company embroiled in an accounting scandal just as it was beginning to make big investments in subprime mortgage securities that would later sour. Last year Fannie and rival Freddie Mac became wards of the state.”
    Read more:,28804,1877351_1877350_1877335,00.html #ixzz1nWqJdHQ8

    Oh, so many scandals and so little time.