Payroll Tax Cut extended

Congress passed H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. This bipartisan agreement extends the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans; continues unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who lost their jobs; and ensures seniors can continue to see the doctor of their choice under Medicare.  President Obama signed H.R. 3630 into law on February 22.

Major provisions of The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act:

Payroll Tax Cut

- Extends the payroll tax cut for the remainder of 2012.  Increases by $1,000 the annual take-home pay of a typical middle-class family.

Unemployment Insurance

- Continues federal unemployment insurance through the end of 2012 and gradually reduces the number of weeks.  The current maximum level (99 weeks) of benefits extends through May, reduces the maximum to 79 over the summer, and to 73 in September – depending on a state’s unemployment rate.

- Drug testing: the bill permits states to drug screen and test anyone who (1) lost their job because of drug abuse, or (2) is seeking a job that regularly requires a drug test.

- TANF: extends Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) through Fiscal Year 2012 and ensures that funds cannot be accessed at ATMs in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.

Ensuring Access for Seniors to See Their Doctors

- Ensures that Medicare beneficiaries will continue to have access to their physicians by blocking a scheduled 27.4 percent cut in Medicare physician payment rates