House passes bill with unemployment benefits, tax breaks

The House passed a bill May 28 that would extend long-term jobless benefits and revive several business tax breaks, according to The Wall Street Journal. The pared-down legislation would cost $115 billion over 10 years, which is about half the cost of a package revealed a few days earlier.

The House approved the core of the bill in a 215-204 vote then approved a provision to suspend long-planned cuts in Medicare payments to physicians in a 245-171 vote. The measures now move to the Senate as a single bill; Senate debate is expected to begin during the week of June 7.

House Democratic leaders narrowed the legislation’s scope and reduced its cost to try to garner support. They dropped proposals that would have helped states pay their share of Medicaid and extended soon-to-expire health insurance subsidies for laid-off workers.

The revised bill includes a small-business lending initiative and extension of long-term unemployment benefits, which are set to expire for many workers next week. It also would revive several business tax breaks that expired at the end of 2009, including a tax credit supporting research and development, and delay the effective date of a proposed new tax on the gains of investment-partnership managers until Jan. 1, 2011.

Although the bill would help reduce the effects on the budget with savings in federal health programs and new taxes, it still would add $54 billion to the annual budget deficit—mostly during the next two years.

Date : 6/2/2010