A Big Choice on Tax Cuts
A Big Choice on Tax Cuts
House lawmakers face a stark choice this week on extending a wide variety of tax cuts that Congress first approved in 2001 and 2003. These tax cuts are currently set to expire at the end of the year. There is near unanimous agreement that the tax cuts should be extended for the middle class. Last week, the Senate approved a bill that would do just that. The Senate-passed bill extends for one year the expiring tax rates on income up to $250,000.
Rep. Levin and House Democrats will offer the Senate-passed plan this week. If a majority of the House agrees, 98% of American families and 97% of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that their income taxes will not go up next year.
House Republicans will offer a plan to extend the tax cuts to all income, including income above $250,000 – so the average millionaire would reap a super-sized tax cut of $160,000 in 2013, versus $2200 for the typical middle-income family of four. Extending the upper-income tax cuts is also expensive and would add an additional $50 billion to the deficit next year.
Michigan Seniors Save on Prescription Drugs
On July 25th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that over 1 million people with Medicare saved $687 million on their prescription drugs in the first half of 2012. In Michigan, over 33,000 residents have saved an average of $712 per person in this same 6 month time frame.
Million of people are now paying less for their prescription drugs because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that is closing a prescription coverage gap, often called the “donut hole”. Until recently, the seniors and people with disabilities in this gap had to pay 100% of their prescription drug costs. In 2010, Medicare beneficiaries in this coverage gap received a $250 rebate to help cover costs. In 2011, a 50 percent discount was given on brand name drugs and 7 percent coverage of generic drugs. By 2020, the coverage gap will be completely eliminated, thus increasing the prescription drug savings each year.
The Week Ahead
House lawmakers face some big votes this week on tax policy as the House debates two bills relating to taxes [H.R. 8 and H.R. 6169]. The House is also expected to consider legislation to extend a variety of farm programs for one year and provide disaster relief. After this week, the House Leadership plans to recess the House for a month, despite calls by rank-and-file lawmakers that the House stay in and catch up on a large backlog of pending legislation.