Dear Mr. Speaker:
Yesterday was a sad day for the American people and for the House of Representatives. The American people, including many members of your own political party were disappointed that House Republicans voted against considering the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits extension, and Medicare physician fee fix in the bipartisan bill negotiated with your blessings and overwhelmingly passed by the Senate.
I am writing to remind you that just one year ago, House Republicans held hostage a one-year payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits, demanding that the Bush upper-income tax cuts must be extended for two years. This December, with the upper-income tax cut still in place until 2013, we lack that leverage to secure the middle class a payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment insurance, which Republicans have opposed all year.
Democrats have already made major compromises on this legislation, including the decision not to include a surtax on those earning over a million dollars a year. We have consistently demonstrated that we are prepared to negotiate legislation to promote jobs and economic growth and to reduce the deficit because that is important to the American people.
But on numerous occasions this year, Republican leaders have walked away from urgent bipartisan efforts such as the Biden deficit negotiations and your own agreement with President Obama on a balanced long-term deficit reduction package. At this Holiday Season, I urge you and your Republican Conference not to walk away from the American people again.
There is still time to call the House back and pass the short-term extension bill that received 89 bipartisan votes in the U.S. Senate. I am hopeful that reason will prevail in your Conference and that we can secure a bipartisan, long-term bill after the first of the year.