Congressman Owens urged Republican House Leadership today to provide immediate tax relief for the American middle-class by passing an extension of the payroll tax cut, which recently passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, 89-10. The two-month extension provides the House and Senate enough time to work on a year-long deal.
"If Republican House leadership is serious about solving this problem, we will pass the Senate bill today and immediately begin work on a long-term extension," said Owens. "Senate Republicans have joined House Democrats in the call to pass this bipartisan agreement and extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.
"If the House fails to act on the Senate bill, taxes will go up -- bottom line. The Senate negotiated a bipartisan deal that House Republican leadership expressed support for over the weekend before their extreme right flank began to revolt. It was clear last night the Senate bill would likely pass the House with support of Democrats and moderate Republicans. The fact that House Republican leadership is bending to the will of an extreme minority and refusing to allow an up or down vote on this bill showcases Washington at its worst.
"I would have preferred the Democratic proposal I voted in favor of last week that would have offset a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut with a small surcharge on the wealthy. But that was not the bipartisan agreement reached over the weekend. I am fully prepared to join Senate Republicans and approve this deal if House Republicans will allow it to the floor for a vote.
"Later today I plan to vote against the Motion to go to Conference because it is a motion to "disagree with' the Senate bill and reopen negations on an issue that has already been settled by a majority in both parties. The only reasonable path forward at this moment is a straightforward vote on the two-month extension the Senate passed Saturday.
"It's time for the House to stop acting like children on the playground asking for a "do-over.' Everyone must make concessions in a compromise, just as Republicans and Democrats in Albany did recently to cut taxes for the middle class. There is no reason why Washington can't follow that example."