On Friday, House Republicans released their version of a payroll tax cut extension that would also extend unemployment insurance and delay changes to doctors’ Medicare reimbursement rates.
The 369-page bill, called the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, is sponsored by Representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. The legislation could come up for vote as early as Tuesday, according to The Hill.
Many GOP leaders are confident that the bill has a strong chance to pass, although there is opposition from Democrats and President Barack Obama has indicated that he will veto the bill. Obama’s opposition to the legislation stems from an included provision that forces his Administration to make a permit decision on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline that he has deferred until after the 2012 election.
The provision directs Obama to grant a permit for the pipeline within 60 days of passage. He is not, however, required to grant the permit if he determines that the pipeline “would not serve the national interest.” In that case, Obama would have 15 days to explain his position to Congress in a report.
The bill also includes measures that would weaken the healthcare reform law by repealing $8 billion in mandatory funding and cutting $34.9 billion for implementing the law, and it seeks to lessen the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate air pollutants released by some industries.
To offset the bill’s cost, the legislation extends a pay freeze for Federal workers, prohibits millionaires from receiving unemployment benefits and food stamps, restricts benefits to illegal immigrants and gradually increases Medicare premiums for the wealthy.