Upton: We're Ready to Get this Done

December 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - With a vote this afternoon reaffirming their support for the House's Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, members of the U.S. House of Representatives remain in Washington, D.C. waiting on Senate Democrats to return from their early vacation so Congress can pass a year-long extension of expiring payroll tax relief. U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) is one of eight House Republicans named to a congressional conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate and send a final bill to the president's desk before the end of the year. However, the Democrats who control the U.S. Senate have so far refused to return to Washington to pass a bill, and the payroll tax is set to jump back up in 11 days.

"The House voted last week on a responsible plan that extends payroll tax relief and unemployment benefits to help families struggling in this weak economy while enacting meaningful reforms that will support job growth and help Americans get back to work. Because longer-term stability is so important, we developed a package that would extend payroll tax rates for a full year and maintain Medicare reimbursement rates for two years, which is good news for seniors. And perhaps most important of all, our bill includes vital pro-jobs policies including spectrum reform, regulatory relief, and action on the Keystone XL pipeline. We do all of these things without adding to the deficit," said Upton.

"With a two-month patch, we'll be back here in the New Year feeling like it's déjà vu all over again. Families will still be looking with trepidation to their upcoming tax bills, and seniors and their doctors will remain in limbo under looming Medicare payment cuts," Upton continued. "The House-passed bill is built on compromise, but if that's not good enough for Senate Democrats, they can come to the negotiating table and work it out with us. We're ready to get this done. It's time for Senate Democrats to come back to Washington so we can send a final bill to the president and give families the reassurance they need that Congress has done its work."

The House-passed Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act includes key provisions originating in the House Energy and Commerce Committee: an effort to spur action on the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline; spectrum reform that will drive investment and innovation, along with significant savings for taxpayers and support for public safety; relief from costly, job-threatening regulations affecting boilers; and a two-year patch for the broken Medicare physician payment system, which will allow Congress to focus on long-term fixes.

Also named a negotiator from the Energy and Commerce Committee is Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and author of the JOBS Act. For more information, please click here.

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