“As 2011 draws to a close, workers, seniors, and the jobless again find their well-being held hostage by yet another last minute crisis orchestrated by extreme Tea Party House Republicans,” said Conyers. “Over and over again this year, these ultraconservative Members of Congress have risked economic catastrophe as they play politics with important legislation that the American people depend on.
Last week, the Senate passed a bipartisan agreement by a vote of 89-10, which would ensure that 160 million middle-class families won’t see their taxes increase, millions of jobless Americans will have access to unemployment benefits, and millions of seniors on Medicare will continue to have access to the doctor of their choice. It was supported by Senators of all stripes – liberals, moderates, and conservatives – and passed with the help of 39 Republican Senators. Even Speaker Boehner initially called the Senate bill a “good deal” and referred to its passage as “a victory.” But yet again, Tea Party Republicans have decided to stand in the way.
We should be honest about the real reason we’re in this situation today: Republicans in Congress are only interested in promoting tax relief for the rich, as exemplified by their 10 votes in the past 10 years to extend tax giveaways for the wealthy. At the same time they have shown they are opposed to extending unemployment benefits and middle-class tax relief.
Just look at the misguided bill that passed the House last week, which cut nearly 40 weeks of benefits and included insulting provisions that suggested that the unemployed were uneducated drug users.
Similarly, on the payroll tax question, many rank and file House Republicans have publicly said they support raising taxes American families. And now they have rejected out of hand the bill passed by the Senate, which would have saved Michigan families an average of $1,800 next year.
The effort by the Republicans to proceed to a conference committee is just another way of rejecting the Senate’s bipartisan bill and to yet again drag out negotiations at the 11th hour on a bill whose purpose they fundamentally disagree with."