Northwest

(Washington D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement after House Republicans blocked a compromise bill that would have extended tax cuts for middle class families, protected support for laid-off workers, and provided payments to doctors that provide Medicare.

“After a year spent crusading for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, today Republicans in Congress denied 160 million ordinary, hard-working Americans a break on their taxes.  This action is nothing more than a thumb in the eye of middle-class families during the holiday season. It is also, sadly, just the latest in a string of purely political, manufactured crises that House Republicans have trapped average Americans in – and one that will have far-reaching consequences in Washington state.

“House Republicans’ refusal to pass this compromise means that in Washington state over 3.5 million families will see their taxes go up on January 1st by an average of $1,130 next year. It means that 40,000 unemployed Washington workers will lose the unemployment insurance they rely on to make ends meet in less than two weeks. And it means that 4,000 Washington state doctors that provide Medicare to seniors and the disabled will lose out on much of the government support that makes that care possible.

“But there is absolutely no good reason that this has to be the case.

“After Democrats in Congress twice were blocked by Republicans in efforts to extend these programs for a full year, last week we worked out a compromise in the Senate to pass a temporary extension that would safeguard Americans - while we negotiated the year-long compromise Democrats had always sought.

“In a rare show of bipartisan compromise, the Senate voted overwhelmingly 89-10 to continue these benefits, the President stood ready to sign it, and the American people were set to avoid losing out on critical support due to political gridlock.

“But as we have seen time and again, the Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by members of the Tea Party, refused to accept compromise. Instead they have decided to play another game of chicken with the livelihoods of Americans who want no part of their radical agenda.

“I won’t be a party to their games. House Republicans must either accept the overwhelming bipartisan compromise we have put forward or accept the consequences of playing middle class families like political pawns.

“Coming to the aid of struggling middle class families and protecting seniors shouldn’t be an uphill struggle. Yet time and again Republicans have blocked efforts to create jobs, reduce our deficit, and provide economic security for average Americans - all in the name of protecting millionaires and billionaires from paying a penny more to help in our recovery.

“House Republicans must change course. They need to begin listening to the needs of struggling middle-class families and come to their aid by supporting the overwhelming compromise the Senate has passed.”