PARKERSBURG - A temporary extension of the Social Security payroll tax has infuriated a West Virginia senator.
Sen. Joe Manchin said the two-month extension is a failure for the American people.
"I am furious and disgusted that anyone could imagine this stopgap measure is the best that Congress could offer hard-working Americans, seniors and the unemployed," Manchin, a Democrat, said. "Delaying a decision for another two months makes no sense, especially when Congress will not be working for one of those months. Only in Washington would you get a month off for failing to do your job. West Virginians and all Americans deserve better, and I will not play these games."
The 2 percent cut from 6.2 percent to 4 percent was enacted in 2010 and will expire on Dec. 31. The amendment approved by the Senate on Saturday extends the cut for another 60 days and will be taken up by the House of Representatives.
"While some at the highest level are playing partisan politics, I was willing and prepared to stay in Washington through the holidays and January to find a reasonable compromise. I was willing to compromise because I believe that both sides can give up ground to do the right thing for the people who sent us here," Manchin said in a statement. "I had been working hard with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to develop a long-term solution that will ultimately stop this government's irresponsible raid on Social Security, while also addressing the need to responsibly extend unemployment insurance and ensure that seniors can see their doctors.
"Looking ahead, I will continue to work hard to find a responsible compromise, and I hope that my colleagues and the President will do what is right and not allow this debate to degenerate into a partisan mudfight that serves election-year politics, but does not serve the American people," he said.
The amendment was approved 89-10 with Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in favor. Manchin and Rockefeller have been on the opposite sides of the issue.
Rockfeller, again citing the 900,000 families in West Virginia benefitting from the cut of about $1,000 a year, said the bill continues to protect Social Security.
"There are signs that the economy is getting better, but the West Virginia families I talk to every day just don't feel that yet," Rockefeller said. "This bill provides needed relief for working families facing hard times by keeping more money in their paychecks, and helping those out of work and searching for jobs to pay their bills and put food on the table. And I have made sure that Social Security is fully protected and remains safe and strong."
Rockefeller said he will support continuing the cut for another year.