Don’t call it a “do nothing” Congress! The House has worked diligently together to pass HR 3630, a payroll tax cut extension bill weeks before deadline. Of course, the Senate has already stated there is no way they will ever pass it. And the president has already issued a preemptive veto on the bill. But hey, the House’s work is done, right?
The bill, which passed 234-193, had only 10 Democratic votes in support of it, and had 14 Republicans vote against it. Yet that didn’t stop House Majority Leader Eric Cantor from calling it “strongly bipartisan.” “We got a strong bipartisan vote in there. My question for the president is, ‘Why are we waiting?’ Demonstrating here there’s bipartisan support for this bill, he ought to go ahead and join us. It’s time for him to compromise.”
Democratic Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen called out Republicans in the House for posturing, pretending that they were working on a solution while then presenting a bill they knew would never pass, just to play politics. “They’re using this as the mechanism to draw a presidential veto on a bill they never wanted anyway. It’s designed to fail, so to speak.”
And what were those “poison pills” packed into the House bill? “[A] measure forcing the Obama administration to expedite its decision about whether to green light construction the Keystone XL pipeline; out-year spending caps that could further reduce funding to key federal programs; and other restrictions including one that would allow states to drug test unemployment applicants.” Republicans also sought an increase in the highest level of seniors who would have to pay more of their own Medicare coverage, raising the percentage of seniors who pay additional out of pocket expenses from 5 percent to 25 percent, which would cost many seniors an additional hundreds of dollars a month.
The President, meanwhile, has made it clear that the bill is a no go, and even if it should somehow pass the senate, it will be vetoed. “With only days left before taxes go up for 160 million hardworking Americans, H.R. 3630 plays politics at the expense of middle-class families. H.R. 3630 breaks the bipartisan agreement on spending cuts that was reached just a few months ago and would inevitably lead to pressure to cut investments in areas like education and clean energy. Furthermore, H.R. 3630 seeks to put the burden of paying for the bill on working families, while giving a free pass to the wealthiest and to big corporations by protecting their loopholes and subsidies.”
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