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Sep 29 2010

Murray offered compromise that Senate Republicans supported two days earlier—killed by Senate Republicans on floor

Watch Senator Murray offer compromise bill, Republicans object 

 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray went to the floor of the U.S Senate to make a final attempt at brokering a bi-partisan compromise on the extension of the critical sales tax deduction before the Senate recessed through November. Murray has been working for months to pass this legislation, and her most recent attempt was blocked by Senate Republicans last Thursday.

Today, Murray offered a stand-alone one-year extension of the sales tax deduction that was based on the same bill that Senate Republicans had offered on Monday, but Senate Republicans led by Senator John Thune (R-SD) objected.

Senator Murray issued the following statement after Republican blocked her compromise bill:

“This display by Senate Republicans is partisan politics and political gamesmanship at its absolute worst.

“I reached across the aisle to bring forward a compromise bill that would help families in Washington state—and that Senate Republicans had agreed to just two nights ago—but they stood up and said no.

“I was willing to do whatever it took tonight to get this sales tax deduction extended for Washington state families, but Senate Republicans refused to put politics aside and give an inch.

“I am going to keep fighting to get this done, but I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans continue to treat this issue as an election year game when families across my home state of Washington are counting on us to get something done.” 

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech offering the compromise follows:

“Mr. President, I have been working hard over the past few months to extend the critical sales tax deduction for families and small businesses in my home state of Washington.

“I know how important this is to middle class families in my state—and I have heard from so many of them about how vital it is that this deduction be extended.

“But every time we brought forward a bill that would help these families, Republicans would band together to block it.

“They would stand here on this floor and say they objected to the way we paid for this deduction.

“Or they would say they didn’t like some of the other tax cut extensions we included in the bill.

“They would give different reasons each time, but they refused to come to the table with real solutions for this serious issue facing middle class families.

“Mr. President, I urged Senate Republicans to change their minds.

“But again and again they blocked these common-sense tax cut extensions.

“Finally, Mr. President—on Monday night, Senate Republicans came forward with a proposal.

“Their bill came at the 11th hour and it stripped away all of the other tax credits that would help families, clean energy companies,  and small businesses.

“So Senator Baucus objected to it, because he wanted to focus on a tax cut extension bill we had been working on for months that already had the support of the majority of the Senate.

“But extending the sales tax deduction is too important to Washington state families to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

“So over the last two days I talked to my colleagues about this.

“I made sure they understood that this issue is about more than the political back-and-forth here in D.C.—it’s about real people back in my home state of Washington…

“It’s about removing a bias in the tax code that is fundamentally unfair to our families…

“And it’s about putting more money in their pockets at a time when they could use all the help they can get.

“So Mr. President—I am here to say that after these conversations with my colleagues on the Democratic side, they have agreed to set aside their objections and allow the sales tax deduction extension to pass today.

“Because this issue shouldn’t be controversial, and the livelihoods of middle class families shouldn’t be used as a political football in election year games.

“So in a few minutes I will ask unanimous consent to pass a bill that pulls the sales tax exemption out of the legislation we had it in before, which will allow it to stand alone, and is what Republicans offered to pass on Monday night.

“With one small compromise— and it is so close to the version Republicans offered on Monday night that I cannot imagine they would object to it now.

“Rather than the permanent extension that I and so many others would prefer, this bill would extend the sales tax exemption for one year, offering greater stability and confidence for middle class families in these tough times. 

“I believe this is a reasonable compromise.  And I believe it can and should pass here today.

 “Mr. President—I was proud to work with my colleagues to put politics aside and advance this proposal that will help people and solve problems for Washington state families.

“And I really hope Republicans are truly interested in helping families more than playing political games, and that they don’t come up with a new reason to object to this bill tonight.”