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Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke’s Statement on the Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Legislation

Yesterday, with a vote of 293 to 132, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3630, the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011.  Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement regarding the vote:


“I could not vote in favor of the Payroll Tax Cut Extension because once again, Republicans refused to ask multi-millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.  Instead, it was paid for on the backs of federal employees, many of whom are women and people of color,” stated Rep. Clarke.  “I am also concerned that the reduction in ‘bad debt payments’ included in the bill will severely curtail hospitals’ ability to provide services to our communities, especially low-income neighborhoods.  Also, the new drug testing provision is simply unfair.  It will have the effect of denying benefits to those who have already worked for them.”  


 “It is important to note that while I voted against the bill, it was very difficult since there are provisions that I supported.  These provisions include: extending the payroll tax cuts; extending unemployment benefits; preventing the scheduled cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates to doctors; and building the D Block nationwide broadband network for first responders,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.  


H.R. 3630, Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act will:


    ·         Extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans;

    ·         Extend Unemployment Insurance but reduces unemployment benefits on average by 
              30 weeks beginning in September 2012;

    ·         Allow states to drug test any unemployment applicant who either: (1) lost their job 
              because of drug use, or (2) is seeking a job that generally requires a drug test.  Since 
              this provision is not mandatory, states can decide whether to implement it. 

    ·         Prevent scheduled cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates to doctors;

    ·         Reduce the “Bad Debt Payments” by phasing down the Medicare bad debt 
              reimbursements to 65 percent beginning in FY2013 for providers who are currently 
              being reimbursed at 70 percent, while phasing in the reduction to 65 percent over 
              three years for those who are reimbursed at 100 percent of their bad debt; and

    ·         Require new federal employees to pay an additional 3.1 percent towards their 

“This compromise bill poses a ‘glass half full’ proposition.  While I support key provisions, the offsets and the benefit reductions are far too punitive.  New Yorkers and the rest of the nation deserve more,” concluded Congresswoman Clarke.