If the Senate Stays on Vacation?
160 Million Americans will see an income tax increase, averaging 1-Thousand dollars.
2.5 Million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits January first.
Doctors with Medicare patients will see a 27.4% cut in federal payments
The next step after Tuesday's House rejection of the Senate bill, would be a conference committee from both houses meeting to work out the many differences in their respective bills. And there are many such as the House version demands continuation of the pay freeze for all federal employees, unemployment benefits would gradually end at 54 weeks and not the present 99 weeks. The House bill would again allow drug tests for jobless applicants and delays implementation of some industrial pollution regulations. But the big stumbling block is Senate conferees left Washington along with the whole Senate Saturday night after voting overwhelmingly, 89 to 10 to approve a bill that had been agreed to by the House as well. Pushed by the insistence of ultra conservative Republicans, House speaker John Boehner caved, and by Sunday morning announced the deal worked out with the Senate was no longer. Now with just 10 days left in December to clear up the impasse, the Senate has to return or the income tax increase, unemployment benefits end for 2.5 million and Medicare doctors lose 27.4% in federal reimbursements. No action could have a serious effect on the struggling economy as, for example, 160 Million citizens would have 2% less in spending power. Boehner says the matter can be quickly solved if the Senate gets back to Washington. But Senate majority leader Harry Reid vows not to call the Senate back, saying Boehner must take the Senate bill back to the House floor for an up or down vote. Both sides are counting on strong public opinion to force a compromise agreement before January 1, 2012.