See How Your Politicians Voted
Title: Reduces Payroll Taxes and Unemployment Benefits
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that extends the temporary payroll tax holiday, amends statutes relating to the emergency unemployment compensation program, increases Medicare premiums for certain individuals and requires the president to issue a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
- Extends the temporary employee payroll tax rate of 4.2 percent through 2012, whereas under existing law the temporary tax rate is set to expire in 2011 (Sec. 2001).
- Requires the president to sign an executive order granting a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project within 60 days of the enactment of the bill, unless the president determines that the pipeline project would not "serve the national interest" (Sec. 1002).
- Extends the termination date of the emergency unemployment compensation program from January 3, 2012, to January 31, 2013 (Sec. 2142).
- Establishes 2 tiers of emergency unemployment compensation, whereas existing law specified a single benefit amount, and increases the amount of benefits as follows, effective December 28, 2011 (Sec. 2142):
- For first-tier emergency unemployment compensation, from the lesser of 50 percent of the total amount of regular unemployment compensation or 13 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount to the lesser of 80 percent of the total amount of regular unemployment compensation or 20 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount; and
- For second-tier emergency unemployment compensation, the lesser of 50 percent of the total amount of regular unemployment compensation or 13 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount.
- Requires second-tier benefits to be paid only after first-tier benefits have been exhausted or the state has entered an extended benefit period (Sec. 2142).
- Reduces the average rate of total state-wide seasonally-adjusted unemployment for the most recent 3 month period that would trigger an extended benefit period from 6.5 percent to 6 percent (Sec. 2142).
- Authorizes states to test applicants for unemployment compensation for the unlawful use of controlled substances as a condition for receiving the compensation, and to deny unemployment compensation to applicants who test positive for illegal drug use (Sec. 2127).
- Requires recipients of unemployment compensation to be actively seeking work as a condition of eligibility (Sec. 2121).
- Defines "actively seeking work", with respect to an individual, as actively engaged in a "systematic and sustained" effort to obtain work, as determined by the state agency charged with the administration of unemployment benefits (Sec. 2121).
- Requires states to recover any amount paid in excess of the amount to which a recipient of emergency unemployment compensation is entitled by deducting the amount from future benefits payments, whereas existing law authorizes, but does not require, states to recover the funds (Sec. 2164).
- Establishes a tax equal to 100 percent of the excess unemployment compensation received by certain taxpayers (Sec. 5301).
- Prohibits any household in which a member receives income of or has assets with a fair market value of at least $1 million from collecting benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Sec. 5301).
- Extends the pay freeze for federal employees, including members of Congress, through December 31, 2013, whereas under existing law the pay freeze is set to expire December 31, 2012 (Sec. 5421).
- Increases the percentage of Medicare premiums that certain Medicare recipients must pay as follows, beginning in 2017 (Sec. 5501):
- From 35 percent to 40.25 percent for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $80,000 but not more than $100,000;
- From 50 percent to 57.5 percent for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $100,000 but not more than $150,000;
- From 65 percent to 74.75 percent for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $150,000 but not more than $200,000; and
- From 80 percent to 90 percent for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000.