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Pelosi Floor Speech Calling for Extension of Payroll Tax Cut and Unemployment Benefits Before Heading Home for Holidays

Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today calling for an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance before Congress heads home for the holidays.  Below are the Leader's remarks.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose this bill, so-called REINS Act, and to urge my colleagues to act now on behalf of jobs for America's workers.  Jobs are the lifeblood of our economic growth and that of the middle class, which is the backbone of our democracy.

“Mr. Chairman, for more than 330 days, the Republican majority has failed to put forth a clear jobs agenda--choosing instead to propose initiatives that undermine job creation and only benefit the special interests.  Today, as we approach the end of this year, Republicans have again refused to vote to extend the payroll tax cut for the middle class and unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  They risk the economic security, really of all of us, certainly the 99 percent, but we are all in this together, as our President has said.

“Democrats have been clear: we must not go home for the holidays without extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits.  We shouldn't be leaving hardworking Americans high and dry over this holiday season without doing their work.  This challenge poses the question: why are we here?  Republicans have chosen to be here for massive tax cuts for people making over a million dollars a year, not having a million dollars, making over a million dollars a year, 300,000 Americans.  Democrats are here for the 160 million Americans facing tax cut uncertainty because of Republican inaction.  But Democrats are here for everybody, for all Americans.  Because we all benefit from a strong middle class, with demand injected into our economy to create jobs.

“Indeed, if we fail to act now on the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, consider the consequences of that reduced demand to our economy: at least 600,000 jobs will be lost.  Don't take it from me; respected independent economists have stated that.  Over 6 million out-of-work Americans would lose assistance.

“Now consider if we do act, and act we must--putting more than $1,500 in the pockets of the typical middle class family and every dollar invested in unemployment insurance yields a return of more than $1.50 in economic growth.  What's important about that is what it does to inject demand into the economy.  Money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, that's what we want this Congress to pass.  Instead of being so completely wedded to the idea that if we give tax cuts to the top 1 percent, it will be a trickle down effect, it hasn't happened. 

“As we approach the end of this year, Congress has a responsibility to address America's top priority: job creation and economic growth.  It's time for us to put the interests of working people ahead of the special interests.  We must act now to reignite the American dream and build ladders of success for anyone willing to work hard and play by the rules, to remove obstacles of participation, for those who wish to do that.  We must spur our economy, put people to work, and strengthen our middle class.  Now we should not go home for the holidays without passing a middle income tax, the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance and SGR.  There are other issues that need to be addressed that affect Americas' great middle class. 

“Mr. Chairman, Christmas is coming.  The goose is getting fat, pleased to put a dollar in the workers hand.  I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no' on this REINS Act and to get to work to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the American people.  Only then will we increase demand in our economy, create jobs, promote economic growth and put money into the pockets of 160 million Americans.  Think of the difference that will make, instead of putting forth legislation that has no impact on our economic growth, is not in furtherance of job creation; is not in furtherance of strengthening the middle class, which is the backbone of our democracy.

“We can't go home without the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for all Americans who need them, who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”