August 4, 2000


On July 27, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4865, the "Social Security Benefits Tax Relief Act," by a vote of 265 yeas to 159 nays.

The bill repeals the 1993 tax provision that increased from 50% to 85% the portion of Social Security benefits includable in gross income and subject to income tax, for individuals with income above $34,000 and for couples with income above $44,000. The higher income levels were also repealed. Thus, under the bill, up to 50% of Social Security benefits for single individuals with incomes over $25,000 and for married couples filing jointly with incomes over $32,000 would be subject to taxation.

The 1993 Act directed the additional revenues from this tax to the Medicare Trust Fund. H.R. 4865 requires general revenues to be transferred to the Medicare Trust fund to replace the revenues lost as a result of this repeal. The general revenue transfer would be calculated each year to equal the amount of tax that would have been collected had H.R. 4865 not been enacted.

The Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary's delegate shall annually report to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate the amounts and timing of the transfers under this section.

There are no provisions of H.R. 4865 relating to the Social Security program or the OASDI Trust Funds.