Congressman Jim Costa released the following statement in response to House Republicans blocking a vote on bipartisan legislation to extend expiring provisions and give Congress time to approve a longer-term solution. H.R.3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, cleared the Senate with a vote of 89 to 10. Specifically, the bill would prevent a $1,000 tax increase on the average American family, extend unemployment benefits, and protect seniors' access to health care professionals.
"On January 1st, middle-class families throughout the Valley will face a $1,000 tax hike since the House failed to act on legislation that won by an overwhelming margin of 89-10 in the Senate," said Costa. "Some in the House are more committed to their ideology than finding bipartisan solutions for their constituents. Rather than acting responsibly, some have chosen to play a high-stakes game of chicken on the backs of American families who will now face greater uncertainty at the holidays."
Currently, employees contribute 4.2 percent of their salary to Social Security. Failure to approve legislation extending this provision, the rate will revert to the previous level of 6.2 percent on January 1st. This increase would impact 160 million middle-class Americans.
"No one disagrees that we need a long-term agreement on these provisions, but it is irresponsible to let them lapse in favor of brinksmanship," said Costa. "Approving the two month extension does not take a long-term deal off the table, but it does protect workers from a tax hike in 12 days."
H.R. 3630 also includes a short-term extension of Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Furthermore, it prevents a 27.4 percent cut in Medicare physician payments putting seniors access to health care in jeopardy.
In addition, H.R. 3630 requires the Administration to make a decision on the stalled Keystone XL Pipeline within 60 days. Costa has long supported the pipeline as a way to create jobs and provide greater energy security to our nation.