How the tax cut rejection affects local seniors

The Republican-led House Tuesday rejected a senate-passed bill that would have extended the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits in this country another two months.

If benefits expire at the end of the year, Medicare payments to physicians could drop as well, raising concerns that doctors would limit their care to seniors.

If payroll taxes go up, many locals' seniors who take part in the senior aid program will also see an increase in their taxes, and that could put a pinch on their finances.

"Many of these people are working, they're getting very small social security and then they're making minimum wage, 20 hours a week and that is to help supplement, so they don't have to choose between medicine and food, rent or heat," said Amarillo Senior Citizen Center Executive Director, Jelaine Workman.

The Senior Aid program here in the Panhandle, is a training program that prepares seniors for full-time or part-time work to avoid those financial hardships, but with the tax cut being rejected, Medicare benefits could take a hit as well.

"If it does impact and it decreases their Medicare benefits, then some of them won't be able to go to the doctor anymore. They won't be able to go and get things taken care of that they need to, so I can see that it's going be a real negative for our seniors."

The rejection will also affect the 2.2 million Americans on long-term unemployment by taking away their benefits.

"We're seeing a lot of 50-55-year-olds that are losing their jobs and they're on unemployment benefits and if the unemployment benefits go away, what's going to happen to those that can't find a job? Where are they going to go next?"

Republicans have agreed to move to open formal negotiations with the senate but Democrats say that's going to be difficult since the senate has already adjourned for the year.

According to USA Today, House Republicans argued before the vote that their approach is better in terms of economic policy, and Democrats focused on the real-time impact this will have on millions of Americans.