Center for American Progress

Extension Passed in Congress Helps the Middle Class
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Extension Passed in Congress Helps the Middle Class

Congress passed an extension Friday to the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits, and the “doc fix” for the rest of 2012, avoiding the March 1 expiration and a potential hit to middle-class families across the country.

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Congress passed an extension Friday to the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits, and the “doc fix” for the rest of 2012, avoiding the March 1 expiration and a potential hit to middle-class families across the country. The final vote ensures hard-working Americans and those unemployed through no fault of their own will be able to help contribute to our economic growth as the economy picks up steam.

Payroll tax cuts allow American workers to take home more money in their paychecks: $120 billion more in 2011 alone. Unemployment benefits, through which the government assists people who lost their job through no fault of their own, kept 3.2 million Americans out of poverty in 2010. And without the doc fix, doctors would earn 27 percent less in Medicare reimbursements.

By avoiding the drama that has plagued previous congressional negotiations and quickly passing the much-needed legislation, Congress will help millions of Americans save money, stay out poverty, and stay healthy. Meghan Miller offers a by-the-numbers look at how the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits, and the doc fix have helped—and will continue to help—Americans.

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