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Congresswoman Brown Says Tea Party Wins, American People Lose: Tea Party Incapable of Taking Yes for an Answer

Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Corrine Brown made the following statement:

"Sadly today, the Republican Leadership walked away from a possible legislative compromise which would have addressed a number of urgent issues facing the American people. Because of their intransigence, taxes on the middle class will go up beginning in January, and those who depend on unemployment benefits to assist them with their rent, mortgages, heating bills, and to put food on the table for their families, will be simply out of luck.

The Senate bill would have extended unemployment benefits through the end of February for millions of American families, reduce taxes for the middle class, and prohibit the discriminatory and unfair standards to obtain critical funding through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs (TANF). Yet the House Republican Party, disregarding the overwhelming bipartisan support the bill had in the Senate, shot it down.

Indeed, it will be the House Republicans who will have to answer the tough questions their constituents ask when they return to their districts during the holiday season. They will have to explain why they are refusing to extend tax cuts to the middle class, why they are blocking emergency funds from going to those who are unemployed through no fault of their own, and why they are making it more expensive for our senior citizens who receive Medicare from getting services from their doctors.

With today's vote we have another blatant example of Tea Party ideologues controlling the United States House of Representatives." And what would their extremist bill (H.R. 3630), which passed the House of Representatives last week, have done? Here are a few of the items in their proposal:


Unemployment Benefits:

· Cuts off Unemployment Insurance Benefits for more than one million Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, especially in states with highest jobless rates.

Ø Slashes Americans' unemployment benefits by more than half, even as families still struggle under the weight of the economic downturn with five people looking for work for every one job opening.

Ø This would harm people in 22 states, cutting the length of unemployment benefits by 40 weeks in: Alabama, California, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

· Imposes new limits on Unemployment Insurance by restricting benefits that employees have effectively paid for.

Ø Unemployment insurance is for all Americans who have been working, have lost their job through no fault of their own, and are actively seeking a job.
Ø These new burdens would deny insurance to those without a high school degree, unless they use the benefits to pay for getting their GED, and require drug testing.


· Requires millions of seniors to pay more for health care, while refusing to ask 300,000 of the wealthiest Americans to pay one cent more in taxes.

Ø Makes millions of seniors, some with incomes as low as $80,000 a year, pay substantially more for their health care under Medicare -- increasing the health care costs of these seniors by $31 billion over 10 years.

Ø AARP strongly opposes these increased health care costs for millions of seniors.

Ø Republicans are asking many middle-income seniors to help pay for the payroll tax cut, all in order to protect those making over $1 million per year from paying even a little bit more in their taxes.

· Violates the bipartisan debt limit agreement, statutory PAYGO and GOP's own Cutgo.

Ø Despite agreeing to caps on spending in August, the bill reneges on that deal and cuts discretionary spending by an additional $26 billion.

Ø It increases the deficit by $136 billion over five years in violation of PAYGO, and increases direct spending by $156 billion over five years and $61 billion over 10 years in violation of their own Cutgo rule.


· Increases taxes on working families and makes 170,000 more people uninsured by requiring large, end-of-the-year health care payments for many.

Ø Substantially increases the end-of-the-year repayments of premium tax credits that working class families receive under health reform if their situation changes during the year -- increasing these repayments by $13 billion.

Ø The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that these provisions would result in the ranks of the uninsured increasing by 170,000.

· Slashes prevention funding that is designed to reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs.

Ø Slashes nearly $11 billion in budget authority and $8 billion in outlays from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, despite the fact that prevention has been proven to save lives, avert illness, and achieve savings in health care costs.

Ø Cutting this prevention funding is opposed by the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, and the Cancer Action Network American Cancer Society.

· Cuts hospital and skilled nursing facility reimbursements, which can jeopardize seniors' care.

Ø Cuts over $21 billion from Medicare provider rates, over 50 percent of which fall solely on hospitals. Due to these cuts, the American Hospital Association is urging Congress to oppose this bill that will harm health care in communities across America.

Ø The American Health Care Association (an organization of skilled nursing facilities) also opposes the bill and its cuts in Medicare reimbursements.

· Undermines air quality, endangering the health of children and families by blocking mercury pollution reduction (EPA rules would place emission limits on less than 1% of all boilers).

Ø Blocks and indefinitely delays any regulation of very large industrial boilers (less than 1% of all boilers), which is estimated to result in 20,000 premature deaths, 52,000 asthma attacks, and 5,100 heart attacks each year.

Ø Industrial boilers are the second largest source of airborne mercury pollution in the U.S. and mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that damages the ability of infants and children to think and learn.

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