As Senate Kicks the Can Down the Road, House Calls for the Regular Order
WASHINGTON—Rep. Martha Roby made the following comments today regarding ongoing congressional negotiations over legislation to extend the payroll tax holiday, reform unemployment insurance, force a decision on the Keystone Pipeline, and adjust the Sustainable Growth Rate:
“Last week, the House passed responsible legislation to prevent a tax increase on the middle class during a slow economic recovery, reform unemployment insurance, force a decision on the Keystone Pipeline, and ensure that doctors receive adequate reimbursement for treating America’s senior citizens. In doing so, House Republicans refused to add to the national debt. Instead, we made the tough choices necessary to pay for the legislation—something past Congresses have failed to do.
“On the other hand, the Democratic Senate disregarded the legislation and instead passed only a two month extension of the payroll tax holiday before rushing out of Washington for the Christmas break. In doing so, they have again dodged their responsibility in favor of simply kicking the can down the road. That is not what the American people sent us here to do.
“Rewriting tax policy every two months is not a good way to run a railroad, and it is a horrible way to operate a government or promote confidence among small business owners and job creators. In fact, experts believe that many businesses simply would not be able to accommodate these changes in their payroll systems. Rather than simply accept the Senate’s bad policy, the House is taking steps to ensure that Congress follows the regular order. There is a time-tested method for working out differences between the two chambers through the use of a Conference Committee, and we believe that such a committee should convene to negotiate a final bill.
“Republicans in the House will be in the Capitol to vote throughout the Christmas and New Year’s holidays if doing so will protect the middle class. Majority Leader Reid should reconvene the Senate immediately so a Conference Committee can move forward and a bipartisan extension of the payroll tax holiday can be approved before the end of the year.”
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Note: The House voted 229 to 193 to request a formal conference with the Senate to reconcile differences between House and Senate-passed legislation. The House of Representatives will stay in session as necessary to act immediately on a Conference Report, should the Senate allow negotiations to move forward.