Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano voted against H.R. 3630, a Republican bill which would cut federal unemployment insurance for more than a million out-of-work Americans.
"Millions of people are unemployed through no fault of their own, struggling to put food on the table and looking for work," Napolitano said. "Republicans have fought all year against raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires, while demanding more cuts to Medicare, unemployment insurance, and other programs needed by working families and seniors who already have their backs up against the wall. It is unconscionable, unfair, and bad economic policy to withdraw support from our working families when they need it most."
The bill was a Republican response to Democratic efforts to extend unemployment insurance and increase the middle-class payroll tax cut through 2012, funded with higher taxes on Americans making more than one million dollars a year.
The Republican-backed H.R. 3630 rejects any tax increases on millionaires, instead offering a number of unrelated "poison pill" amendments that would cost jobs and hurt working families.
"Poison Pills" in Republican Bill:
· Cuts unemployment insurance for more than 1 million Americans out of work in this recession. People without jobs in high unemployment states like California could lose up to 40 weeks of unemployment insurance (reducing them from 73 to 33 weeks). All states would lose at least 14 to 34 weeks of unemployment insurance, removing billions of dollars from their local economies.
· Requires millions of Medicare recipients to pay more for healthcare.
· Blocks the EPA from enforcing mercury air pollution standards, endangering children's health.
· Inserts unrelated, controversial provisions like the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
· Reduces free preventive Medicare and Medicaid services that help bring down costs.
"We need a clean bill that extends unemployment insurance and payroll tax cuts to help improve our economy, without any game-playing or controversial issues added on," Napolitano said. "Republicans should stop demanding lower environmental standards, cuts to health care services, and other unrelated measures, and immediately focus on job creation and getting the American people back to work."
· Currently, the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment insurance expires Jan. 1 unless Congress votes to renew them.
· According to Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics, allowing the payroll tax cut to expire would cost the average family $1,000 per year and reduce U.S. GDP by almost 0.5%.
· According to a recent report by the National Employment Law Project, allowing unemployment insurance to expire could result in up to $22 billion in lost economic growth, because the money is usually immediately spent on vital necessities, and families without insurance are more likely to use homeless shelters and other services.
· According to the Department of Labor, there are currently more than 4.2 unemployed workers in the U.S. economy for every available job opening.
· Pres. Obama has said he will veto the bill in its current form.