House passes payroll tax cut extension

Dec 22, 2011

Dear Neighbor,

The current session of Congress is ending after a year in which the conservative House majority passed a budget which would have (had it passed the Senate) ended Medicare as we know it, repeatedly tried to limit a woman's right to choose, and held a routine debt-limit increase hostage to an extreme agenda.

Last weekend, the Senate had passed a two-month temporary extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and the Medicare ‘doc fix’ by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 89-10 vote, meant to give negotiators more time to reach an agreement on a full year-long deal, which the President has been pursuing for weeks.

But on Tuesday, Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party-dominated House majority, refused to even allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate compromise, saying instead it was ‘their way or the highway’.

The majority’s intransigence would have had a significant impact on the vast numbers of Americans beginning January 1st. If the payroll tax cut had not been extended, 160 million American families would have been affected. Failing to extend emergency unemployment funding would have hurt 2.2 million unemployed Americans. And failing to adjust Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors-- the so-called “doc fix”—would have affected thousands of health care providers, many of whom might not have been able to afford to treat Medicare patients.

But this morning, with January 1st looming, Speaker Boehner and the House majority finally agreed to the two-month extension. This is good news for everyone, but is another demonstration—if any were needed—that the majority is too often concerned with scoring political points rather than getting things done for the American people.

I expect that Congress can now get to work on extending the payroll tax break, the “doc fix,” and expanded unemployment benefits for a full year when we come back in 2012.

I wish you and yours all the best in the New Year.


Member of Congress


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