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Conference Report on H.R. 3630, Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, today's payroll tax conference agreement will provide $1,000 in the pockets of more than 160 million Americans and ensure that approximately 3.5 million Americans will continue to benefit from much-needed unemployment insurance. We've also protected seniors' ability to see their doctors with an SGR fix through the end of the year.

Despite these critical provisions, though, this is a difficult vote to take. I'm greatly disappointed over how these extensions are offset.

First, the unemployment extension is paid for on the backs of middle class Federal workers. These hardworking men and women continue to be targeted in this Congress, but yet they are not the reason for our Nation's deficit. Meanwhile, my Republican colleagues refuse to require the wealthiest few to pay their fair share.

Secondly, the SGR fix is being paid for with critical health care dollars. In fact, the bill slashes one of the most important investments this country has ever made in preventative health. This is extremely shortsighted. We cannot continue down that path or we'll never address the real cost concerns of our health care system. And, sadly, the bill also manages to cut from one provider, hospitals and nursing homes, to pay for another, physicians. We can't rob Peter to pay Paul, and our health care system can't sustain further provider cuts. Meanwhile, there's still no permanent solution to an ongoing SGR problem that can't continue to be kicked down the road.

I will vote in favor of this bill, but I do so with reservations. I know that on our Democratic side, our conferees fought very hard for the best deal that they could get. So I think we have to vote for this bill because it does a lot of very important things, but I also have to express my reservations.


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