Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) released the following statement today, after Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to vote on a bipartisan compromise package to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, despite overwhelming support for the measure from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Instead, House Republicans passed a motion to go to conference committee, knowing full well that such a move will raise taxes on middle class families and allow unemployment benefits to expire for millions of Americans at the end of the year.
"The bipartisan compromise negotiated in the Senate garnered 89 votes. Such a strong showing of support for any bill is rare, which makes it all the more shocking that Tea Party Republicans in the House would refuse to vote on this necessary legislation. Senate leaders negotiated this compromise at Speaker Boehner's request. For him to now walk away from these good faith negotiations shows not only a lack of leadership, but also an unwillingness to put the good of the country ahead of the politics of the moment."
"By rejecting this compromise, Tea Party Republicans have committed to raising taxes on middle class families, cutting off assistance to unemployed Americans, and risking seniors losing access to their doctors. The Republican refusal to compromise means that 160 million Americans will see their taxes increased by an average of $1,000. It also means that 2.3 million Americans -- including 362,000 Californians - will lose their unemployment benefits by mid-February, and that 48 million Medicare recipients will have their medical care jeopardized."
"All of us in Congress have been working towards a year-long extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut. But this two month extension is what was delivered to the House from the Senate, and we must support it in order to protect our middle-class families and those Americans struggling to find work. I am hopeful that Congress will continue negotiations towards a long-term extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut in the New Year, but it is vital that middle-class families do not see a tax increase on January 1st."
"Today's vote by House Republicans to go to conference on this package is a complete and utter sham, and serves as yet another example of the GOP putting politics over the well being of the American people. Claims by House Republicans that they are concerned with the length of the compromise package are completely disingenuous. The truth of the matter is that House Republicans never had any serious intentions to extend either the payroll tax cut or unemployment benefits. It's time for them to stop thinking about the 2012 elections, and start thinking about helping the millions of American families struggling to get by in these difficult economic times."