News releases from some of our state’s representatives in Washington:
From U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais
WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) issued the following statement upon the announcement that the House and Senate have reached a deal to extend the payroll tax break for two months:
“The House passed a responsible, bipartisan bill that provided a year-long payroll tax reduction; extended and reformed unemployment insurance; preserved senior’s access to healthcare by preventing a 27% cut to doctors treating Medicare patients; and advanced measures that will boost private-sector job creation.
“Rather than use this bill as a template to work from, the Senate simply refused to take part in the normal legislative process. It is disappointing that since the Senate failed to do their job, we will now have to have this debate again in two months. I will continue to fight for long-term solutions that will provide economic certainty for both American workers and American businesses.”
From U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleishmann
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chuck Fleischmann reiterated today he continues to support extending the payroll tax cut and is in favor of the compromise that has been worked out. However, he still believes a one-year extension is what best serves the American people.
“As I have said from the very beginning, I support extending the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans. I voted to extend the cut for one year, extend and reform unemployment benefits, and sustain the Medicare growth rate for patients and doctors for two years. Unfortunately, the Senate refused to return from their vacation, and Harry Reid and President Obama lead a pathetic process that has forced a less-than-ideal extension in order to ensure taxes are not raised on the American people. Once again, cheap political points won out over sound public policy,” Fleischmann said.
“Let’s be clear, the original bill passed by the House was in the best interest of the American people. However, there is only so much we can do when dealing with an obstructionist Senate and a President mostly concerned about his re-election. I am very much opposed to tax policy and health care policy being decided two months at a time in this country, but I am more opposed to tax increases on the American people. I hope the conference process will produce a long-term solution that will benefit all Americans.”
“I believe this process has highlighted a clear difference in the way the Republican-led House is interested in governing and the way this Senate and President are interested in governing. We favor long-term solutions over short-sighted political maneuvering. The House has passed a budget that puts us on a long-term path to fiscal solvency, while the Senate has not passed a budget in well over 900 days – continuing to force last-minute budgeting to avoid government shutdowns. Instead of a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut and a two-year ‘doc fix’ for Medicare, they forced a two-month extension and fix. This is wrong and the American people should hold them accountable next November.”
From U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper:
WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan Senate bill granting a two-month extension on payroll tax cuts, unemployment benefits, and Medicare reimbursements for physicians:
“I’m glad House Republicans caved to Senate Republicans because this will save Tennesseans a lot of hardship. Now the job is to get the economy growing and start paying our bills.”
From Sen. Bob Corker
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., made the following statement today regarding an agreement reached between the House and Senate to extend various expiring policies for two-months, including the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits and a fix for Medicare physician reimbursement rates. The agreement, which passed both chambers today, appoints a conference committee of the House and Senate that will work on a longer-term extension of these provisions in the new year.
“I continue to believe a payroll tax holiday is poor public policy, but we all knew this was going to pass in some form or fashion, and I hope Congress will now focus on long-term measures that give real clarity and predictability like eliminating tax loopholes, lowering rates and broadening the base, reforming our entitlement programs so they are sustainable, and dealing with our country’s out of control spending,” Corker said.
The legislation passed today also requires President Obama to make a decision within 60 days on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would take oil from Canada through the U.S. to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Corker is a cosponsor of the North American Energy Security Act to prevent further delay of the pipeline, and in November, when the State Department announced it would delay its decision on the pipeline until 2013, Corker called on Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry to hold a hearing “to assess the full impact of postponement on U.S. industry, energy security, and economic growth.”
In his letter to Chairman Kerry on November 17, Corker wrote: “With the unemployment rate at 9 percent, I have serious concerns about the impact this deferral may have on job creation. Reports indicate that the pipeline’s construction will create up to 20,000 direct jobs immediately and could create tens of thousands of indirect jobs. Further, it would inhibit U.S. access to 800,000 barrels of Canadian oil daily from a stable and dependable economic partner, reinforcing our dependence on the Middle East and other volatile oil producing countries.”
From U.S. Rep. Diane Black:
Gallatin, TN (Friday, December 23, 2011)–Today, U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-TN), released the following statement on the deal reached between House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
“The deal reached between the House and the Senate is politics at its worst, and I am angry and frustrated that Congress has decided to play political games to support such bad policy.
“I flew back to Washington earlier this week because I felt enacting tax policy for two months made absolutely no sense. The shortest financial planning window for employers is quarterly, which is three months not two months as proposed by the Senate.
“What’s more, fixing the Medicare reimbursement rate for two months isn’t fixing anything. When the House first passed our year-end legislation, we ensured Medicare physicians would not see a drop in their payments for two full years. And we took steps to get Washington out of the way by lifting the EPA’s job-crushing Boiler MACT regulation, supporting small business investment, and substantially reforming unemployment insurance in order to get people back to work.
“Long-term, Congress must stop taking money from Social Security and we must permanently fix Medicare physician’s reimbursement rates. Businesses, doctors, individual taxpayers and our nation’s seniors deserve more than a come-back-in-two-months strategy.
“This debate is the perfect example of exactly what is wrong with Washington, where too often political games stand in the way of sound policy solutions.”