Exactly what's in the payroll tax cut deal
February 15th, 2012
02:16 PM ET
2 years ago

Exactly what's in the payroll tax cut deal

Washington (CNN) – What exactly is in this $150 billion Valentine's Day compromise on the table in Congress? Among the details: some significant changes to unemployment benefits. It's not out in public yet, but Republican and Democratic sources have given the CNN Hill team a look at some key specifics.

Keep reading for our quick and clear 101 of the deal.

The Valentine's Deal 101

From multiple sources unless otherwise noted

PAYROLL TAX CUT
- Would be extended ten months, through the end of 2012.
- This increases pay checks 2%, by lowering the payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%. (On the first $110,000 in income.)
- Cost: approx. $100 Billion.
- Paid for? No. Congress will borrow money to make up that difference, adding $100 billion the national debt.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
- Extends current levels and length of unemployment benefits through May. After that maximum lengths of benefits decrease in steps.
- On Sept. 1, max. unemployment benefits would fall to 73 weeks in the highest unemployment states. (GOP source says that's 9% unemployment or more.)
- On Sept. 1, unemployment benefits would drop to 63 weeks in states with average unemployment.
- Drug testing: Republicans say the deal would allow states to drug test unemployment beneficiaries if a) they are unemployed because of a failed or refused drug test or b) if they are applying for jobs that require drug testing.
- Long-term unemployed: would have to go through a "reemployment assessment", according to Republicans. This would assess what skills and services they need to be hired and require that they participate in recommended programs.
- Job search requirements: Republicans say the deal would issue a first set of "national job search requirements" for those receiving unemployment benefits. We are waiting for details on what that means.
- Cost: we need a new estimate for this, given the change in benefit lengths. It's expected to be less than the $30-$40 billion ten-month extension of the current 99-week max.
- Paid for? Yes. By broadband spectrum sales ($13 billion) and requiring federal employees to contribute more to pensions.

MEDICARE DOC FIX
- Blocks a 27% pay cut for doctors treating Medicare patients.
- That pay cut would otherwise be automatically triggered due to a federal payment formula which Congress has not revised. Instead, Congress has repeatedly voted to pay for short-term payment patches.
- Cost?: Approx. $20b. (Though again, we'd like to see a fresh estimate when it comes out.)
- Paid for? Yes. By cuts to Medicare and Medicaid providers, such as hospitals, labs and clinics.

– Follow Lisa Desjardins on Twitter: @LisaDNN

– CNN's Kate Bolduan and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.


Filed under: American Sauce
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    What's in it? MORE OBAMA DEBT and a less secure social security system. Your kids and grand kids have every right to curse your thievery and gift of more debt to repay. But Obama says party it up, live for today, don't worry, be happy.

    February 15, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    Best thing Obama could do – he will get 160 million Votes out of this.

    Vote Democrat – 2012

    2016
    2020
    2024
    2028
    2030

    February 15, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. FIELD1stSGT

    Way to go Obama hit the poor below the belt in medicare. You're certainly taking care of your people.

    February 15, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Data Driven

    "But Obama says party it up, live for today, don't worry, be happy."

    Okay, I will, thx.

    Where were you people when Bush exploded the debt with unfunded wars and Medicare Part D? Partying it up?

    February 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. roadwarrior

    truth i could not have said it better myself you seem to be a well informed and intelligent person to bad there are so many blind and stuipd people out there that cant see the damage this so call self proclaimed savor is doing to this great land of ours the next time rudy gi joe or goerge of the junk heap start defending this idiot remind them that when obama was a senetor he voted for all those policies he claims he inherited from bush and the rep but it proably wont do any good because as larry the cable guy said you cant fix stuipd but keep up the good work i enjoy reading the posts of someone who is intelligent for a change and this one is for dominican mama anyone but obama to thousand and twelve and beyond

    February 15, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. gt

    i wish my banker would have deals like this.... america will pay dearly for this obama give away.....

    February 15, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Larry in Houston - Best thing Obama could do – he will get 160 million Votes out of this
    ===============================================================
    Absolutely this is what this is about.... Getting Obama re-elected. YOUR retirement money being used as a bribe to YOU to get you to vote for the Snake-in-Chief. America, you are being played for fools by the Democrats, who care NOTHING about your future or the future of this country. Party on fools... As Greece has learned the hard way, the party does NOT last forever.

    February 15, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. ct

    the only thieves and liars are the gop base. They dont have no solutions. They're not honest, just a bunch of corrupt politicians. when obama gets re-elected and if you dont like it, go off yourself.

    February 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Curt

    So federal employees with have money taken out of their pocket through an increase in pension contributions, but millionaires and billionaires will get to keep their Bush tax cuts. Thats really fair.

    February 15, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. w l jones

    Think for one momet if it were not for the poor spending money their would not be a middle class. Each segment compliment the other that economy. Bless.

    February 15, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    What's in it? MORE OBAMA DEBT and a less secure social security system.
    ------
    Everything was balancing just fine unti congressionall Republicans, controlling both the House and the Senate, weary from 6 years of oppression under a Democatic president, finally got their wish in the form of a Republican President and went drunken sailor hog wild. Over the course of the next 6 years they enacted policies that turned a $300 billion surplus into a $500 billion deficit, which finally hit $1.5 trillion during FY2009, which was Bush's last year.

    February 15, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Larry in Houston

    @Truth – My Pension is Secured -I've already Paid My Dues, (with 28 yrs. in Manufacturing) have you paid Your's ?

    February 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. diridi

    Debt is created by Republicans, and their Blind Policies, and their followers. not Obama. Period.

    February 15, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Larry in Houston "Best thing Obama could do – he will get 160 million Votes out of this. "

    I kinda wished he had worried more about the people than getting votes, but sadly, you are probably right.

    February 15, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Larry in Houston – @Truth – My Pension is Secured -I've already Paid My Dues, (with 28 yrs. in Manufacturing) have you paid Your's
    =========================================================================================
    Been working and paying taxes far more than 28 Larry. Saved a lot too. Never count on money you give to politicians to be there when you need it. Once you give it them, it is NOT YOURS anymore. You never know when some fool that want's to "spread the wealth around" will get voted into office and look to use my money to do it.

    February 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Honestly Rudy... will you or Obama EVER accept responsibility for his actions??? The guy has turned himself into a JOKE with blaming his predecessor for FOUR YEARS. Is this what a second Obama term will bring us? Four more years of blaming others for his failed policies? Very, very sad and pathetic for someone who was billed as a savior, could walk on water and part the seas.

    February 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. roadwarrior

    here we go again truth the obama fan club thinks someone believes all this bull there trying to shovel i cant wait to see what they have to say when there life for the lazy gets the big boot keep dreaming fools theres no chance its going to happen any orther way hes as big a loser as the rest of you hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    February 15, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. roadwarrior

    hey truth these people like rudy and the orthers are probably on gov assisted programs thats why they defend him so much

    February 15, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Honestly Rudy... will you or Obama EVER accept responsibility for his actions???
    -----
    Yup. Republicans began blaming Pres. Obama for high unemployment before he was on the job for a month, before the Congress even convened after his inauguration. Republlicans have been blaming Obama for the high annual deficit that Bush left us with. Republican are in complete denial of the facts, and prefer to spin the truth to their best convenience. To hear Republicans tell it, Bush was a Democrat who enacted liberal policies.

    February 15, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |