2/15/12: Legislation to extend the payroll tax holiday, extend unemployment benefits, and prevent a cut to physician payments under Medicare had been under consideration in a House/Senate Conference Committee since January. The House version of this legislation, H.R. 3630, included cuts to federal employee pensions and an additional year of a pay freeze for 2013 to offset the other costs of the bill. The Senate version did not include the federal employee provisions.
Both sides in the negotiations agreed to drop offsets for the payroll tax extension, but not the extension of unemployment benefits and the Medicare “Doc” fix. NTEU has learned that a final bill may include a provision to increase employee contributions to their pensions as an offset for the unemployment extension. The details are still not finalized, but we are working hard to prevent this provision from being included in the final bill.