“[W]e ought not walk away from our federal employees any more than we ought to walk away from those 160 million people who need this tax cut or walk away from those 2.4 million who need that unemployment insurance.”
For weeks, Republicans have been blocking a tax cut for 160 million Americans, unemployment insurance for millions of unemployed, and the Medicare physician payment formula on which 48 million seniors on Medicare rely. Today, Congress sent to the President a bill to end that uncertainty for American businesses and families. While I supported the vast majority of the provisions in this bill, the legislation unfairly targets a select group of working class men and women to pay for it. For this reason, I voted no. (To watch a video of my Floor statement explaining my position in depth, click here.)
Our federal workers have already contributed $60 billion to deficit reduction over the next decade, and this bill once again demands from them another contribution in the form of retirement savings of new federal employees. We must remember that our deficit problems were not created by these men and women, and they will not be solved by only asking them to contribute while not asking others to pay their fair share.
I supported an alternative proposal that I believe was fairer. It would have saved the same amount of money while also supporting workers who make significant contributions to help our country both domestically and abroad. This bill is an unacceptable solution, and the ongoing efforts to target federal workers will substantially undermine our ability to recruit and retain the quality of people we need to carry out duties to keep our country safe, efficient, and competitive.
For those reasons, I could not support this bill. I strongly support extending the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment insurance, and enabling seniors access to their doctors, and, in fact, I have helped lead the fight to extend all of these. But I opposed this bill because we are paying for these policies in a way that goes against our American values of fairness and sharing the responsibility of meeting our common challenges.
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.