Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra sent a letter today to Speaker John Boehner calling on him to direct the Speaker pro-tempore in upcoming House sessions to recognize a Democratic Member offering a motion to pass the bipartisan, Senate-passed bill to extend the payroll tax cut, Unemployment Insurance, and the SGR Medicare physician fix.
Yesterday, Speaker pro-tempore Michael Fitzpatrick refused to allow Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer to speak on the floor and ask for Unanimous Consent to bring up the legislation, risking a tax increase on 160 million Americans and the loss unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Below is the full text of the letter.
December 22, 2011
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
We are disappointed that during yesterday morning's House session, the Speaker pro-tempore refused to allow the consideration of the bipartisan Senate-passed bill to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the SGR Medicare physician fix. Passage of this bill is essential prior to January 1, and is the only way to ensure that tens of millions of Americans avoid losing tax cuts and other essential benefits as we continue to work on a longer-term extension of these critical policies.
Yesterday, 180 Democrats introduced HR 3743 which is identical to the Senate-passed bill. The House has three chances before January 1 -- this Friday, next Tuesday, and next Friday -- during which this bill could be passed by Unanimous Consent. Democrats will provide that support to provide the American people a firm guarantee that these essential benefits will not terminate unnecessarily on December 31.
We urge you to direct whoever is serving as the presiding officer on each of these upcoming House sessions to recognize a Democratic Member to offer a motion to pass the short term extension without further delay. There is no reason why such an extension cannot be on the President's desk within a few hours of House action given the overwhelming support the Senate has already demonstrated. We owe it to 160 million affected Americans to pass this consensus, bipartisan bill before December 31, and Democrats offer our support as soon as you will allow the bill to be considered.
James E. Clyburn
Assistant Democratic Leader
Democratic Caucus Chairman
Democratic Caucus Vice Chair