On the eve of the holiday season, House Republicans have been forced by the Tea Party to block a vote that would have provided a much-needed tax break and extended unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.
After Tea Party members threatened a revolt, House Republicans are now refusing to even hold a vote on extending a payroll tax cut putting about $1,000 back in the wallets of 160 million Americans, and extending unemployment insurance program – a bipartisan agreement already approved by 89 Senators of both parties. House Republicans have effectively killed the bill and are jeopardizing an economy still struggling because Tea Party leaders are more interested in scoring political points instead of helping millions of Americans and sharing the credit with Democrats.
This week, Senate Republicans who supported the effort to help American workers railed publicly against their Tea Party colleagues and their motives. As a cosponsor of legislation to advance the bipartisan compromise bill that passed the Senate, at a time when so many people are hurting in this economy and facing the added expenses associated with the holidays, this is one of the worst things House Republicans can do at the end of one of the most partisan sessions I’ve ever seen in Congress.
House Republicans and the Tea Party should be ashamed of themselves for not even allowing a vote on a tax cut on 160 million hardworking Americans and unemployment benefits for over two million more, just because Democrats support these measures. House Republicans even praised the bipartisan deal between Senate Democrats and Republicans before their Tea Party colleagues made them backtrack. Worst of all, the reason that Republicans aren’t allowing a vote on the tax cut is because they think it will pass. So much for Speaker Boehner’s promise to let the House work its will. So much for House Republican’s promises to do what’s right for America.
It’s time to stop letting the Tea Party hold the House of Representatives hostage. There are very real and immediate consequences to this extreme partisan brinksmanship. Even Senate Republicans have pleaded with Republicans in the House to accept a deal for the American people.
This is the opposite of the ‘small government’ House Republicans claim to believe in – House Republicans and the Tea Party are using every political play in the book just to score political points. In the end they’re blocking Americans from the prosperity and relief they deserve at a time when so many people are hurting and need all the help they can get.
Republicans should place the well-being of the nation ahead of politics, and stop playing these disgraceful games with the country’s paychecks and bills.
is the representative of New York’s Fourth Congressional District. She was first elected in 1996.