U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer issued the following statement today in response to the House Republicans’ vote to block an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits:
“Because House Republicans today said ‘my way or the highway,’ on New Year’s Day 160 million Americans will wake up to a tax increase averaging $1,000 and 1.8 million Americans, including 300,000 Californians, will begin losing their unemployment benefits.
“The Senate legislation was a true compromise which is why it passed with the support of 90 percent of the Senate. Instead of moving forward with that bipartisan compromise, Speaker Boehner resurrected an extreme bill that hurts our economy, our families and our communities.
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“Under the House Republican plan, millions of middle-class workers like veterans’ nurses, border patrol agents and food safety inspectors would see less money in their paychecks and costs would increase for 25 percent of Medicare recipients.
“Their proposal also endangers the health of the American people by stopping a clean air rule that is essential because it lowers the amount of arsenic, lead and mercury in the air. In addition, House Republicans would irresponsibly slash the public health and prevention fund, leading to more cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
“The fact that House Republicans would not even allow a vote on the Senate compromise leads me to believe they are intentionally trying to kill the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits – both of which many Republicans never supported in the first place.