WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference this afternoon with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Chairman Richard Neal, and Rep. John Tanner (TN-08) to urge Senate Republicans to support a fully offset tax extenders bill. Over 150 House Democrats, including the leadership, have signed a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging Republicans to join Democrats in passing a fiscally responsible bill, and more Democrats are expected to sign it. The same group sent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a similar letter in support of his efforts to pass a paid-for bill. Below are Hoyer’s remarks at today’s press conference as prepared for delivery:
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is a huge obstacle – a roadblock – in the United States Senate.
“And, that roadblock is the vast majority of Senate Republicans, who obstinately refuse to offset the costs of the critical tax extenders bill – which costs some $55 billion – even as our nation goes deeper and deeper into debt under this Administration’s free-lunch fiscal policies.
“Make no mistake: House Democrats are absolutely committed to enacting this legislation to extend tax relief to American businesses and families without increasing the deficit.
“And, we know that Senate Democrats and a handful of Senate Republicans support this position, as well.
“But let me be clear: The House will not vote to waive the PAYGO rule for tax extenders legislation that increases the deficit.
“The Senate is six votes short of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture on this legislation – which is so important to working families and the business community.
“Three Senate Republicans – Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe and Bob Corker – bravely broke with the minority and stood with all Senate Democrats in voting to move this legislation forward.
“And, Senator Corker’s remarks explaining why he supports paying for the tax provisions in this legislation are worth noting. He said: ‘It’s the first time in a long time I thought we had something that was intellectually honest. And, I have to tell you my big fear is our tremendous lack of fiscal discipline.’
“I remain hopeful that Senators Baucus and Grassley will continue to work together, and that enough Senate Republicans will adopt the fiscally responsible position and vote to offset the costs of this important bill.
“Let me add, too: The offsets included in this bill are not highly controversial. We would close a loophole allowing high-income taxpayers to defer taxes through offshore tax havens, and delay a tax break for multi-national companies that has not even taken effect yet.
“So, I urge my Senate Republican colleagues: Take down the roadblock.
“Join us in paying for – and passing – this vital legislation for America’s families and businesses.”