Rep. Waxman's Statement on H.Res. 501
Mr. Speaker, this has been a terrible year in Congress. The intransigence of the Republican leadership and Tea Party Republicans has brought us to brink of crisis again and again.
And now we are playing a game of chicken with the lives and well-being of millions of American families at stake.
What we should have done today is take a simple vote to accept a bipartisan Senate compromise – a compromise supported by every Republican leader in the other body – to ensure that all Americans continue to enjoy the existing payroll tax cuts, to ensure that all Americans who need unemployment benefits continue to get them, and to ensure that payments to doctors providing services under Medicare are not cut.
Instead, the House Republicans are bringing a tax increase to 160 million Americans, forcing 2 million American to the edge of despair as their unemployment benefits run out, and scaring 48 million seniors who worry that their doctors will now opt out of providing services under Medicare.
To add insult to injury, this resolution seeks to impose the Republican’s extreme anti-environment agenda onto legislation essential to the economic security of the American people.
This is the most anti-environment House of Representatives in the history of Congress, and this resolution is a fitting capstone to this dismal record.
House Republicans should not be holding payroll tax cuts, unemployment insurance, and payments to physicians under Medicare hostage to the rapacious demands of the oil and gas industry.
The House Republicans want to force the President to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. They forget that the future of our economy lies in clean energy, not increasing our reliance on the dirtiest source of gasoline imaginable. The President is right to indicate that he will disapprove the pipeline rather than give in to this kind of legislative terrorism.
The House Republicans are also demanding that we eviscerate EPA’s public health standards for industrial boilers.
This is a gift to the special interests and a lump of coal for American families. EPA’s public health standards will prevent up to 8,100 premature deaths and 5,100 heart attacks every year. The pollution reductions required by the rules will yield up to $30 in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards.
Americans want clean air, not more mercury, lead, and arsenic pollution in the air they breathe.
This is a shameful day in the House of Representatives. We are being denied a vote on a bipartisan bill to provide tax relief to millions of hard-working families … to continue desperately needed unemployment benefits … and to prevent devastating cuts in payments to doctors.
Once again, the Republican leadership has shown the lengths to which they will go to impose their radical, extreme agenda: sacrificing the public health and welfare of the American people.