Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Irresponsible Short Term Fixes"

UPDATE 12-23-11 - (Washington, DC)  U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) stated as "irresponsible" the act of Congress after it passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax break, unemployment benefits, and reimbursements to doctors who treat Medicare patients:

“These short term fixes are an irresponsible way of governing,” said Congressman Broun.  “We must have long-term solutions that will create jobs in the private sector, bolster our economy, and implement policies that guarantee all Americans will have ample opportunity for success.”

Both the House and the Senate on Friday passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax, bringing an end to the political brinkmanship that delayed progress on the popular bill for weeks.

House Republicans initially opposed the two-month extension -- arguing in favor of a full, one-year extension -- but after taking a political beating for holding up the bill, they struck a deal on Thursday to accept the Senate bill with added language to benefit small businesses.

House Republicans OK Tax Increase 
12-20-11 WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, the House of Representatives rejected the Senate amendment to H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, and requested a meeting with the Senate to work out a compromise. The Senate’s amendment to the legislation only extended the tax relief through February, setting up yet another showdown on this issue in the coming months.  Since the passage of the Senate’s amendment, business groups across the country have come out in opposition to it, including the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors.  In addition, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium, expressing concerns that the Senate’s plan could not be properly implemented, said that it “could create substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees.”

Georgia’s House Republicans stood together to oppose this irresponsible bill and called on the Senate to return from its vacation to work with the House to pass a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut before the end of the year.

Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10): “The House of Representatives and our Republican leadership has done its job.  We have passed a comprehensive bill that would extend unemployment benefits while making significant reforms to the system, so that job-seekers are encouraged to look for a paycheck instead of a handout. 

At the same time, we have extended the payroll tax cut, so that millions of Americans won’t see a tax hike right after the holiday season, and we have put in place policy that protects our seniors’ Medicare coverage.  Unfortunately, under the poor leadership of Harry Reid, members of the Senate from both parties are more interested in getting out of town than in doing what is right for our country.  I call upon them to come back to Washington and to pass a bill to create jobs and provide long-term stability for the unemployed, working families, and our nations’ seniors.”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03): “Last week, the House passed a comprehensive bill that would among other things, extend the payroll tax cut for middle class Americans through 2012.  It was a bill that garnered bipartisan support in the House and was sent to the Senate with the hope that they would act responsibly and pass the bill.  Instead, Senate Democrats amended it to include a short-term, two month extension of the tax cut – essentially kicking the can down the road to February.  This is absolutely unacceptable and an incredibly irresponsible way to set tax policy.  These short-term fixes and the mentality of ‘I’ll think about that later’ only create more uncertainty in our markets and our economy.  The American people deserve better from us.  The Senate needs to return to Washington, as the U.S. House has done, and get back to work so we can come to a responsible agreement.”

Rep. Jack Kingston (GA-01): “In this economy, it would be reckless to accept the Senate’s “take it or leave it” two-month extension.  A two-month extension of the payroll tax cut instead of a full-year extension would cause additional uncertainty and complexity for private-sector job creators already struggling in the current economy.  We have ten days to work out a suitable compromise.  I’ve seen bigger compromises in shorter periods of time.  President Barack Obama said, ‘It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year.’  I agree.  Let’s work together and make it happen.”

Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06), Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee: “A two-month extension of the payroll tax reduction, unemployment insurance, and Medicare physician reimbursement rates will only generate greater uncertainty among families, job creators and physicians.  What the Senate has passed is not a workable or acceptable solution, and delaying these important decisions until February is entirely unnecessary.  Just last week the House approved a long-term solution that preserves payroll rates, reforms unemployment, ensures patients have access to doctors, and puts thousands of Americans to work.  It was fully paid for in a largely bipartisan way.  Nevertheless, the Democrat leadership in the Senate has said they would rather kick the can down the road once again and refuse to work with House Republicans.  The House of Representatives is ready to find common ground with our Senate colleagues and with the president on these tough choices.  We can do it in a manner consistent with how Congress is supposed to operate when there are disputes between the chambers.  Senate Majority Leader Reid ought to call his colleagues back to work so we can do what is necessary to provide much needed certainty to families, job creators, and physicians caring for our nation’s seniors.”

Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-07): “Hardworking American taxpayers deserve certainty, and the House is working to give it to them.  Those who defend short-term fix after short-term fix must simply have become accustomed to ‘business as usual’ in Washington.  America deserves better, the freshman class has demanded better, and this Congress can deliver better.  If you are a senior on Medicare, you need to know that you’ll still have access to care beyond 60 days.  The House solution delivers on that commitment but the Senate does not.  If you are a middle class tax payer, you need to know what your tax burden will be beyond 60 days.  The House solution provides that certainty but the Senate bill does not.  The House will not surrender to short-sighted, short-term salves, but neither will it demand ‘my way or the highway’.  Today, the House is appointing conferees to sit down with the Senate to work out a bipartisan, bicameral solution that speaks to America’s long-term needs.  Again, the American people deserve better than 60-day solutions from Congress, and I am tremendously proud to be in the people’s House that has committed to working as long as it takes to make sure that we deliver for them.”
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08): "The Senate put a bad amendment on a good bill.  The 60 day extension creates more uncertainty in the economy, and it will not work on a quarterly wage and tax return.  The Senate needs to come back to DC, and work with the House and the President to pass the one year extension to the payroll tax cut.  We have ten days until January, surely the Senate can work a couple of them."

Rep. Tom Graves (GA-09): “Last week, the House passed a bi-partisan bill that extended the payroll tax cut for one year in a responsible way.  Under the House’s bill, the government had to tighten its belt to pay for the extension, rather than raid the Social Security trust fund or raise taxes to cover the tab.  The Senate ignored the House’s bill, opting instead for a two-month extension which only causes more uncertainty for physicians and job creators.  This is no way to operate the world's greatest nation.  The Senate should suspend its vacation, come back to Washington, and hammer out a one-year extension for the American people. Americans deserve government officials who put the needs of their constituents ahead of their own vacations.”

Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (GA-11): “The Senate, with this two-month extension, has kicked the can down the road once again. The House put together a comprehensive package giving tax relief to the middle class for a full year, addressing Medicare reimbursement rates for two years, and reforming unemployment insurance. During these troubled economic times, the House proposal would bring certainty to the middle class and those who are unemployed — as well as to seniors and their physicians. We are back in Washington to address this paltry Senate plan and will continue to work to get this right.  After all, we simply cannot seriously address tax policy two months at a time.” 

Jessica Hayes (Representative Paul Broun's Office)

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