Daily Whip
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9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes” per side
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

H.Res. 554Rule providing for consideration of The Conference Report on H.R. 3630 - Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (Rep. Camp - Ways and Means) (One Hour of debate). The Rules committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for 60 minutes of general debate on the Conference Report. The Rule allows no amendments and one motion to recommit. It also waives all points of order against the legislation.

Conference Report on H.R. 3630 - Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (One Hour of debate) The Conference Report extends the 2% payroll tax cut, the Medicare SGR  "doc fix" and various Medicare and Medicaid extenders through the end of the year. It also extends emergency Unemployment Insurance through the end of the year. Depending upon a state's unemployment rate, the maximum duration of benefits would be 99 weeks through May, 79 weeks through August and 73 weeks through December. In addition, the Conference Report reauthorizes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through the end of the fiscal year. 

Under the measure, the $93 billion cost of the payroll tax holiday would not be offset.  The cost of the “doc fix” and the extenders is completely paid for with health-based offsets, including cuts to various Medicare provider payments and to the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund, while the $30.1 billion cost of extending unemployment benefits would be offset by allowing for auctions of unused broadcast spectrum to wireless companies and by requiring larger pension payments from newly hired federal employees.  This would require that new federal employees hired after December 31, 2012, pay more towards their defined benefit pensions under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). Specifically, those employees would pay 3.1% of their basic salary towards FERS, a 2.3 percentage point increase over the 0.8% FERS employees currently pay. This offset, once again, only requires hardworking federal employees to contribute to helping solve our deficit problems and does not require others to share in the contributions. 

The Conference Report also includes a provision that allows for states to enact legislation that requires UI applicants to submit to and pass a drug test only in cases where the individual was either terminated from their prior employment because of illegal drug use, or is applying for work in which passing a drug test is a standard eligibility requirement. The measure does not include numerous House-passed provisions that would have blocked EPA boiler and incinerator regulations, provided for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline or required individuals seeking unemployment benefits to have either a high-school diploma or GED certificate or to be working towards one of the two.

Bill Text for the Conference Report:
PDF Version

The Daily Quote

“House Republicans stumbled toward a congressional recess Wednesday as Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) delayed his signature highway bill and rank-and-file members grumbled about a tentative payroll tax deal… Scrambling to find votes and plug funding holes in a $260 billion package, the Speaker told his members a final vote on the transportation measure would not occur until the House returns at the end of the month... A CNN poll released Tuesday offered more bad news for Republicans. It found that 77 percent of likely voters disapproved of the job performance of Republican leaders in Congress, a number unchanged from November.”

-     The Hill, 2/15/12