WBUR

Sen. Brown Pushes Amendment For Payroll Tax Reduction

Sen. Scott Brown is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 24 after voting on the jobs bill. (AP)

BOSTON — A month after taking the oath of office and becoming the first Republican to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate in three decades, Sen. Scott Brown unveiled his first piece of legislation Wednesday.

Brown’s amendment to a jobs bill Democrats are pushing would put approximately $80 billion in unused federal stimulus funds toward an across-the-board reduction in payroll taxes. Brown says the proposal would save individual workers more than $500 over a six-month period and would help stimulate the economy.

Speaking to WBUR Wednesday morning, Brown said he believes his plan would create jobs more effectively than direct government initiatives.

“This allows people to go out and spend monies as they see fit, in pursuance of their needs, and not the government’s needs,” Brown said. “The government always thinks they can do more with your money than you should be able to do. I would rather put it in the pockets of individual citizens versus creating another government job or government slush fund.”

Brown sided with Democrats last week in voting to advance, and then voting for, the proposed jobs bill. The Republican cited that bipartisan effort Wednesday, saying “there seems to be more of that happening now.” He said he hopes his amendment wins bipartisan support as well.

“This is something I’ve been working on since I got here,” he said. “I’m hopeful there will be a new bipartisan effort to jump on board and put money back in people’s pockets in their own states. We’ll see.”

Brown’s willingness to vote across party lines on the jobs bill was met with criticism by some of his supporters, but the senator said he told people during the election that he would vote across party lines “when it’s appropriate.” He said the jobs bill was not perfect, but “a good first step” based on a number of bipartisan principles.

By all accounts, however, Brown’s bipartisan voting will not extend to President Obama’s proposed health care overhaul. Despite Mr. Obama’s televised summit and inclusion of GOP proposals, the Republican spoke against the legislation Wednesday.

“From the indications we’re getting, it’s a regurgitation of the Senate plan and it still calls for a half a trillion (dollars) in Medicare cuts and still will cost over a $1 trillion,” Brown said. “And if they’re gonna try to do the nuclear option or reconciliation to ram this thing through in a non-bipartisan effort, I think that’s a huge mistake.”

Echoing the criticism of other Senate Republicans, Brown also said he takes issue with health care’s legislative process. He predicted the effort would cause backlash with voters.

“If they use the political chicanery and parliamentary maneuvers to basically take over 1/6 of an industry and change it using a parliamentary maneuver without really broad-based support,” Brown said, “I think it’s going to be problematic in the midterm elections.”

Brown received his committee assignments Tuesday from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He got two of the three appointments he wanted and will serve on the Senate’s Armed Services, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Veterans Affairs Committees.

On Wednesday, Sen. Brown said he has a lot of work to do to carry out his goals on the military-focused agenda.

“Aside from a lack of sleep and not having enough time during the day, (my agenda) will be certainly trying to provide the tools and resources to our troops, take care of our veterans after they’ve served, and try to address the very real homeland security issues effecting our state and our country,” he said.

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  • Dorothy Gwozdz

    Dear Senator Brown
    On March 1,2010 US Congress is automatically cutting Medicare payments to doctors 21%!!!
    These doctors will be forced to stop taking care of Medicare patients. Please help to avert this crisis. On behalf of the senior citizens we thank you.

  • Andre Bourque

    The sad part of politics is the Scott will campaign that he reduced our taxes by using stimulus money that in the long run will increase our taxes. In general the public is so short sighted that they will gladly take the money and hail a victory for the republicans. How about taking the stimulus money and actually put people to work instead? Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and …

  • Sheldon Broder

    First, wouldn’t the payroll tax holiday increase the medicare deficit and second wouldn’t the payroll tax holiday benefit predominately the rich. The 80 billion should be targeted toward the portion of the population that will spend it on necessities not another trip to the mall.

    Regardless of how they campaign, when elected Republicans fall into line. Reduce taxes; reduce social programs; more for the bloated defense department

  • http://martina1964@verizon.net Tina Follansbee

    It’s always nice to get more money in my paycheck but my concern is that even if we get a credit now, say, won’t we still have to pay the IRS next year? For instance, I’m getting less money back in my 2009 taxes because less was taken out during the year due to the stimulus incentive we received last spring. I count on a chunk of money to pay for some things I can’t cover with regular pay – like a special train trip to see my daughter.

    If that is what will happen, then if the Fed gives out say 10 million dollars to taxpayers but then those taxpayers still have to pay the IRS at the end of the year, I don’t see how anything real has been accomplised -not the way incentives to hire or funds to build roads and bridges or money to convert to energy efficient lighting would be.

  • Kathy Lee

    I am self-employed, and my partnership gets health insurance by going directly to BC/BS for small business coverage. I am afraid to go and get tested for something which runs in our family. I am afraid I will not be able to get health insurance if I decided to leave this state. It would be a pre-existing condition if the test came back positive. My insurance went up by 38% this year with BC/BS of Massachusetts. With all the deductables I will be paying over $22,000 which excludes co-pays. This is not even deluxe at all. It is pretty basic. Many of tests are not even included. I know this is normal policy so what is deluxe? Scott you and your mother seem to have benefited from policies of the Democrats why do you feel others do not need it. How quickly you have forgotten since you do not need it anymore. Does any member of your immediate or extended family get any benefits now.
    Is it really politics or you truly do not understand what you are supporting. Your vote will effect the turning point of our countries history. Your family may never have to suffer since you are now connected into our government. Many doors will open for them. When it opens opportunity for your family you are closing doors for many many citizens of this nation. I saw your plug for your daughter. You should be proud of daughter but plugging her on TV. This is exactly what I mean about how they will be better off when others suffer. The rest of us really need for the health insurance system to be reformed. I shouldn’t have to worry that my premiums will keep going up by 38% or that if I move to another state I’d risk not being able to get health insurance at all. And I can’t possibly offer health insurance to anybody else at this rate. The plan in congress now is our best hope: it does address pre-existing conditions, it would let me change insurers, and it might help keep the costs from going up so fast. I wish there were a public option, even lowering the eligibility for Medicare to 55, say, but even if there is not this plan is far better than what we have now. If you want to get reelected you should cross the aisle and support this bill when it finally gets voted on. I remember your comment how impressed you were of Senator Kerry. I do not think he impressed you except now you get to rub elbows with him. That must be impressive to you. Self interest is not for the people.
    When you vote please think of us.

  • Nick Knight

    Ahh Bush’s plan, for the economy. We see how well that worked out. What a genius. Stick to posing nude.

  • Bruce Wilson

    As long as they use the Stimulus dollars I think it is a good idea however I would exclude those who would be getting a tax break under obama care, Federal, State, Local workers, some union members and all of those seniors around the country who were singled out to save their medicare advantage…. from Florida, Michigan etc

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