GOP: Charge Wealthy More For Medicare To Offset Payroll Tax Break
The proposal would require people who earn more than $1 million to pay the full cost of Medicare. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is floating a "trigger bargain" that would delay for one year the automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin in 2013 and also could include a payroll tax extension and a fix for physician's Medicare payment rate.
Politico: Eric Cantor Floats Year-End Trigger Bargain
Cantor has spoken to senators from both parties ... as he gauges support for a potential package that would include up to $133 billion in spending cuts in exchange for delaying the first year of slashes to defense and nondefense programs slated to begin in 2013. That package could also include a reform and a yearlong extension of jobless benefits, a payroll tax break and the Medicare reimbursement rate for physicians (Sherman and Raju, 11/30).
Los Angeles Times: GOP: Charge Wealthy More For Medicare To Cover Payroll Tax Extension
As the Senate prepares to vote on extending President Obama's payroll tax holiday, the GOP has offered an alternative proposal that would not tax millionaires to pay for it, but instead require those earning beyond $1 million to pay full price for Medicare (Mascaro, 11/30).
The New York Times: GOP And Democrats On How To Prevent Social Security Payroll Tax Increase
Senate Republican leaders introduced a bill that would keep the payroll tax rate at its current level for another year. The cost is roughly $120 billion. Senate Republicans would offset most of the cost by freezing the pay of federal employees through 2015 and gradually reducing the federal work force by 10 percent. In addition, Senate Republican leaders would go after "millionaires and billionaires," not by raising their taxes but by making them ineligible for unemployment compensation and food stamps and increasing their Medicare premiums. Democrats said that this part of the Republican proposal was not serious, pointing out that high earners were already ineligible to receive food stamps (Pear and Steinhauer, 11/30).
The Washington Post: On Payroll Tax Cut, Obama Says Republicans Are Out Of Touch
Republicans are, however, resisting Obama's proposal to expand the tax break to 3 percent of wages for workers and to create a related benefit for employers. They are also battling Democrats over how to cover the cost of the measure. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans offered a proposal to extend the current pay freeze for federal workers for an additional three years, trim the federal workforce by 10 percent and force high earners to pay more for programs such as Medicare. The wealthy would also be blocked from receiving benefits such as food stamps and unemployment insurance (Nakamura and Montgomery, 11/30).
Reuters: Senate Republicans Offer Tax-Cut Renewal Plan
A pay freeze for federal workers would be extended for another three years as part of a Senate Republican plan offered on Wednesday to cover the cost of President Barack Obama's call to extend a popular payroll tax cut. ... Smaller savings would be gained by tightening eligibility requirements for jobless benefits, food stamps and the Medicare health care program for the elderly. Senator Dean Heller proposed the funding mechanism, which was embraced by Republican leadership. Under the plan, for example, millionaires and billionaires would be forced to pay higher Medicare premiums, according to a summary (11/30).
The Associated Press: GOP: Offsetting Cuts Must Cover Payroll Tax Relief
Republican congressional leaders stressed a willingness Wednesday to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut due to expire Dec. 31, setting up a year-end clash with Democrats over how to pay for a provision at the heart of President Barack Obama's jobs program. ... Senate Republicans called for a gradual reduction in the size of the federal bureaucracy, as well as steps to make sure that million-dollar earners don't benefit from unemployment benefits or food stamps. They also recommended raising Medicare premiums for individuals with incomes over $750,000 a year (Espo, 11/30).
The Hill: GOP: Pay For Payroll Tax Cut With Federal Workforce, Safety Net Cuts
Senate Republicans have proposed wringing cost savings out of the federal work force and safety net programs to pay for an extension of the current payroll tax cut. In a further sign that the debate had shifted to how to, instead of whether, to extend payroll tax relief, Senate Republicans would take a page from President Obama's own fiscal commission and freeze salaries for federal civilian employees for three years. That would amount to a five-year pay freeze in total, given that a two-year policy is already in effect (Becker and Wasson, 11/30).
Politico Pro: GOP Plan Expands Medicare Means Testing
Senate Republicans on Wednesday proposed paying for payroll tax relief by implementing higher Medicare costs for the most wealthy Americans, among other revenue raisers. The plan was put forward by Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada with the support of Republican leaders. While Republicans and Democrats appear to agree on extending relief from Social Security taxes for another year amid a sour economy, they are divided over how to pay for it. Senate Democrats have proposed legislation to temporarily lift the tax, paid for with a surtax on people with incomes more than $1 million, but Republicans say they’ll oppose it (Haberkorn, 11/30).
The Connecticut Mirror: Doctors Wary Of Looming Medicare Cut, Or A Short-Term Fix
The latest concern on [Dr. John] Foley's mind is a more-than-27 percent cut to the fees Medicare pays physicians that's poised to take effect Jan. 1, the result of a formula developed in 1997 to limit growth in Medicare spending. ... Congress is expected to act to avert the cut, as it has every previous time a formula-driven cut has loomed since 2003. But doctors and other Medicare experts say the uncertainty that comes with each round of potential cuts is taking a toll (Levin Becker, 11/30).