February 18, 2012
Congress has extended the employee-side payroll tax cut through the end of 2012. After weeks of uncertainty over whether an agreement could be reached, the House passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (H.R. 3630) by a vote of 293 to 132 on February 17, 2012. Senate approval quickly followed, also on February 17, by a vote of 60 to 36.
Lawmakers agreed not to require the $93.2 billion estimated cost for the payroll tax cut extension to be offset by revenue-raising provisions. A potential impasse over revenue increases was avoided entirely when both parties agreed to offset costs of the full-year, two percentage point payroll tax cut through transfers from the general fund of the Treasury to the OASDI trust fund.
In a revenue neutral provision, however, the new law eliminates a timing-shift in the estimated tax payments that had been required of certain large corporations under previous laws. Non-tax provisions within the new law extend unemployment benefits and implement a “doc fix” for Medicare.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill as soon as it reaches the White House.