Ted S. Warren/AP

Obama signs payroll-tax holiday into law

New federal employees must now pay more for retirement benefits.

President Obama on Wednesday signed the payroll-tax holiday extension into law, the White House announced.

The measure maintains a lower payroll-tax rate for the duration of 2012, extends federal unemployment benefits, and prevents doctors who accept Medicare from taking a reimbursement cut.

The law also increases the amount new federal hires and those with less than five years in government must contribute to their pensions.

The extension cleared the House on Friday with a 293 to 132 bipartisan majority. The Senate followed minutes later with a 60 to 36 vote in that chamber.

President Obama strongly supports this legislation, and on Thursday night praised the agreement reached in Congress that led to Friday's votes.

"Leaders of both parties have done the right thing for our families and for our economy by reaching an agreement that will prevent a tax hike on 160 million working Americans," he said in a statement. "The typical American family will still see an extra $40 in every paycheck, keeping nearly $1,000 of their hard-earned money this year."