Hoyer Discusses House GOP Opposition to Middle Class Tax Cuts on CNN Newsroom

For Immediate Release:

December 20, 2011

Contact:

Katie Grant, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) urged House Republicans to drop their opposition and work with Democrats on the Senate compromise bill to extend middle class tax cuts, extend unemployment assistance, and fix the Medicare physician payment rate today on CNN Newsroom. See below for excerpts and a link to the video.

Click here to watch the video.

“What we're trying to do is say, look, the American people and we just heard spokesmen for them saying ‘Look, why can't they work together? Why can't they come to an agreement?’ Well, that's exactly what happened in the United States Senate. They didn't like the House bill. As a matter of fact, Harry Reid tried to put the House bill that the House members are talking about on the Floor and the Republicans objected. What they did was – in consultation with John Boehner – came to an agreement. That agreement had 89 Senators out of 100 agree on a proposition that would continue the middle class tax cut, would give certainty and assurance that as of January 1st there wouldn't be a tax [increase], would give 48 million Americans assurance that they would still have access to their Medicare doctors, and would give 2.3 million Americans an assurance they wouldn't lose their unemployment insurance and therefore their ability to support themselves and their families.”

“The Senate overwhelmingly agreed and McConnell said [the bipartisan Senate bill] was designed to pass. Very frankly the House bill was designed to fail, we know that. The President said he wouldn't sign it and the Senate said they wouldn't pass it. [House Republicans] passed it to the Senate anyway knowing full well that it would put us in that position. The way to get beyond this is to simply say, okay, we apparently, at least we articulate that we all agree there ought to be a year extension. But in the short term, because we haven't reached agreement, let's pass the Senate bill and give assurance for the next 60 days that the present position will stay in place. That's not hard to do. And work for the next 60 days and hopefully we can get that done in 30 days perhaps. That which we've been unable to do so far, come to an agreement on a year's extension of the payroll tax and unemployment insurance and other matters that we need to deal with, including paying doctors to take Medicare patients. We need to do all three of those. We can do it easily. All we need to do is pass the Senate, 83% of the Republican Senators and 90% of the Democratic Senators agreed on this proposition. The Tea Party faction however of the Republican conference rejected John Boehner’s recommendation that they do this. We're trying to convince them, let's move forward, let’s do this.”

“If we see this continuing convulsion, as I call it, of opposition, of confrontation, and of a refusal to come to compromise, I’m not optimistic. I think that's tragic for the 160 million Americans that will be affected in terms of their taxes, and for the people on Medicare, and the unemployed who will be adversely affected. So I hope the Republicans come to their senses and say, yes, we've done this before. For instance, we passed a Continuing Resolution when we couldn't agree on funding levels. We passed that for a short period of time so that we can try to come to agreement and often we do in fact come to an agreement. That's all we're asking today. We think that's a reasonable thing to do. Six Republican United States Senators are urging the House members to do just that. Harry Reid has indicated in order to do what the Republicans want to do you have to have three cloture votes. Each one of those cloture votes requires 30 hours of debate. As a practical matter, we have seen United States Senate unable to come to grips with that. Now we see them having reached an agreement. We ought to take yes for an answer, we ought to move forward, and we ought to do the people’s businesses in a constructive, positive way.”

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