Today Congress passed the Payroll Tax cut bill, HR 3630. I voted for this bill and I will tell you why. I did it because it will extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million middle class Americans, it will continue to pay unemployment insurance benefits for Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and it guarantees our seniors on Medicare will have access to the doctors of their choice. But Republicans put this bill together in such a way that it exposes their unfair and downright mean approach to keeping the rich safe. So while I voted for this compromise payroll tax cut bill, I still stand in protest to the fact that Republicans continue to protect the rich while tearing away at middle-class and low-income families.
I am disappointed that the bill fails to include a complete overhaul to the Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and simply delays the cut once again. The more we delay in reforming this broken system, the more expensive it becomes. In 2005, the cost of fixing the problem was $48 billion, today, just six years later, the cost has skyrocketed to $400 billion. We cannot keep ignoring this problem with temporary fixes.
Furthermore, I find it unconscionable that in order to pay for this temporary patch we cut the bad debt reimbursement payments to Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics. These hospitals and clinics serve the neediest and sickest people in our society and already struggle to keep their doors open. With the richest ten percent controlling over two-thirds of the country's wealth, we must ask everyone to share in the sacrifice and not continue to punish the neediest among us.
I also do not support the Republicans continued war on federal workers. Out of 315 million Americans, this bill again leans heavily on the two million civilian federal workers who are expected to carry the burden. In the last two years alone, these workers have already contributed over $88 billion towards deficit reduction. These are the workers who are helping find treatments and cures for diseases, protecting our food supplies and providing loans to small farmers who cannot find help anywhere else. These are the men and women who care for our wounded warriors and our veterans. So while millionaires and billionaires continue to enjoy their massive tax cuts, the doctor at the VA, the air traffic controller, the Border Patrol Agent and the scientist trying to find the cure for cancer is once again asked to be the only one making a sacrifice. These middle class employees, who live and work throughout this nation serving others, will be making the sacrifices for the rich. For these reasons I am extremely disappointed in my colleagues from the other side of the aisle. We cannot and must not continue in this manner of stealing from the poor and the middle class to help the rich."