Yesterday, House Republicans stood in the way of bipartisan efforts to prevent a tax hike on 160 million Americans starting January 1. The middle-class payroll tax cut, which expires at the end of the month, should have been extended with wide, bipartisan support for another year. Democrats have been working to extend this tax cut, along with an extension of unemployment insurance for Americans who lost jobs through no fault of their own, and fixing the Medicare physician payment rate to ensure seniors have access to their doctors, which also expire on January 1. Working together, leaders from both parties in the Senate reached a compromise on Saturday, passing a two-month extension so middle-class families would not see their taxes go up while we continue to work on a longer-term extension. That bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate (89-10) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) initially called it “a good deal” and a “victory.”
The Majority Leadership of the House quickly changed course, however, and rather than allow a vote on the bill that passed the Senate with a bipartisan majority, they refused to allow the Senate compromise to be voted on in the House. They are continuing to play political games at the expense of America’s working families, and this irresponsible behavior will result in raising taxes on the middle class. President Obama has called on Speaker Boehner to extend this tax cut before the end of the year, and several Senate Republicans have issued strongly worded statements urging their House colleagues to support this compromise. These warnings, however, have fallen on deaf ears.
This morning, Congressman Chris Van Hollen and I went to the Floor of the House to demand that the Speaker bring this legislation up for a vote, so that we can give certainty and assurance to seniors, to the unemployed, and to 160 million Americans who are at risk of losing their tax cut on January 1. Unfortunately, the acting Speaker walked off the Floor rather than acknowledge our request. This is unfortunate.
Unless we pass the bipartisan compromise, the consequences will be felt by families here in Maryland and across America. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it done because I believe that the well-being of America’s middle class is more important than scoring political points at their expense.
As always, thank you for allowing me to share this update with you, and please continue to share your concerns and insights with me by contacting my office or connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.