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Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendments to H.R. 3630, Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011; Providing For Consideration of House Resolution 501, Sense of House Regarding Any Final Measure to Extend Certain Expiring Provisions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, last night, at the direction of the Republican leadership, the Rules Committee voted out a martial law rule that will deny the House of Representatives an up-or-down vote on the bipartisan Senate compromise. No vote.

We're only days away from seeing 160 million hardworking middle-income Americans see their taxes increase, and there is no vote. We're on the verge of allowing 2 million jobless people to lose their unemployment benefits and 48 million seniors to lose their health care, and the Republicans tell us there can be no vote. Are you kidding me? Last night, my friends defended their delaying tactics by saying all they wanted was to protect regular order when it comes to legislation. Since when? Regular order? Please.

The Rules Committee is becoming a place where democracy and fairness go to die. This process is shameful. We have a habit in this House in which we like to point fingers and blame at the Senate for its dysfunction, but we can't do that today because the Senate actually functioned and gave us a bipartisan compromise. It's not perfect, and we all want a 1-year extension of the payroll tax cut. Yet, as we struggle to find acceptable pay-fors, which up to this point we have not been able to do, the U.S. Senate has provided us with a bridge to get there.

This compromise includes a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and the doc fix. The package also includes a requirement that President Obama make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which many of us find hard to swallow. Democrats get something they want, and Republicans get something they want, but that's not good enough for House Republicans.

At a time when the American people want Democrats and Republicans to work together, the Senate actually did. That politicians can come to agreement on important matters I believe is a good thing. But what's a bad thing is what we're doing here in the House today--trying to scuttle this deal by denying us a vote.

In today's Washington Post, a Republican Member is quoted as saying, ``It's high-stakes poker.'' Well, Mr. Speaker, this is not a card game. In fact, this is not a game of any kind. Let me inform my Republican colleagues that this is real life, with real people and real consequences. I would say to the Republican leaders of this House, Show us that you can govern. This is time for an adult moment. It's time to tell your Tea Party wing that the American people come first. It's time to put country ahead of political party.

We're less than 12 days away from a tax increase on middle class Americans; and instead of doing what's right for 160 million Americans, the Republican leadership is playing politics, denying us a vote, and ensuring that today, when all is said and done, we will accomplish absolutely nothing for the American people.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, vote down this rule. Don't
leave town until we have a chance to vote on the Senate compromise so that we can ensure that millions of our fellow citizens don't see their taxes going up during these difficult economic times. Give us a vote. Why won't you give us a vote? We demand a vote. Let us have a vote so we can do what's right for the American people.

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