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Myth-busting the Senate's bad policy

IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             Contact: Brian Baluta (202) 225-6155

December 20, 2011

AUDIO: Another two-month extension does not deal with the realities being faced by Nevadans

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2) today issued the following statement regarding his yea vote on H.Res. 501, which rejected the Senate's 60-day extenders plan and requested a conference to hammer out differences between the chambers:

"A week ago on December 13, the House passed the comprehensive H.R. 3630, known as 'The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011.' Contained in that measure, for which I voted YES, were the following provisions:

1. A one-year extension for the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance.

2. A two-year extension of the 'Doc Fix' for Medicare and TRICARE patients.

3. A series of reforms and savings, which paid fully for the above programs, and which did not raise taxes, increase the budget deficit or the federal debt, or raid Social Security payments.

4. A freeze on federal and Congressional pay through 2013.

5. Unemployment reforms, which insured that millionaires, prisoners, and illegal immigrants did not receive unemployment benefits.

"After a 96-hour review, the Senate essentially said NO to the above policy positions, and amended H.R. 3630 to be a 60-day bill. That decision sets all Nevadans up for a repeat performance in February of 2012. The decision further raises the fees on all those obtaining FHA mortgages in Nevada, one of the hardest hit housing markets in our nation. Those consulting the Congressional calendars for January will see that neither chamber is set to be in Washington much at all that month, instead spending extended time in respective districts.

"I realize that I've been in Congress for less than 100 days, but it's truly illuminating to see that this has become the story of 'no' and 'the Tea Party' and 'the House killing the Senate bill.' I guess in Washington, D.C., where politics trump policy, Saturday the 17th comes before Tuesday the 13th. The House bill accomplishes what everybody wants, including Democrats, Republicans, and, most importantly, the American people. But because getting the policy right as a fact is a harder edit for the Beltway cultural media, the reality gets lost and the story becomes about political sport rather than good policy.

"H.R. 3630 as passed by the House is a good bill. It gets the policy right for seniors, veterans, employers, workers, and those on unemployment. Because some smell political blood in the water, the discussion magically takes on characteristics that bear no relation to facts and good policy. Don't believe the hype. It is not good policy.      

"The 60-day extension is not workable from an implementation standpoint. It does not give Nevadans the stability and predictability that they deserve. And if recent history is any indication, waiting 60 days doesn't mean anything will get accomplished. We just went through this with the Super Committee.

"The last time I checked, this is a bicameral legislature. I look forward to regular order proceeding, as designed by the Founders. Hard-working Americans don't put off for 60-days what they can accomplish today. If we're going to do this, it's worth doing right. The Senate can claim that up is down and left is right, but it doesn't make it so."

For the record:

Prior to their new-found support for the 60-day extension, the following officials said:

“It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year.” -- President Barack Obama

“House Democrats will return to Washington to take up this legislation without delay, and we will keep up the fight to extend these provisions for a full year.” -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

“I’m disappointed that Senate Republicans would not agree to a longer-term extension of critical policies.” -- House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer

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