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Longer term extension of these programs needed

(Washington, D.C.) – Payroll tax cuts for workers and benefits for the unemployed have been extended for 2 months, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today.  These measures will help American families at a crucial time, but need to be extended in the long-term to shore up our fragile economy. The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 passed the Senate today in an 89-10 vote and now heads to the President, who is expected to sign it soon.

“As millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans struggle to make ends meet during this holiday season, the extensions of payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance will provide much-needed help,” Shaheen said. “In New Hampshire, the payroll tax cut has meant an extra $600 million in our communities and its extensions will mean almost $1,000 for every middle-class American family. An extension of unemployment insurance is crucial at a time when there is only one job opening for every four unemployed Americans.”

Independent economists have predicted that allowing the tax cut extension to expire would cost our economy 400,000 jobs, and could even push the country into another recession. The bill also provides temporary extensions of a variety of health provisions.

Today the Senate also passed a spending bill in a vote of 67 to 32 that averted a government shutdown and will keep the government running through September 30, 2012.