Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on his vote in favor of the House payroll tax cut extension:
“The bottom line is that while today’s deal is not perfect, it provides needed financial relief to working families. This agreement puts an average of $1,000 in the pockets of American families this year by extending the existing payroll tax cut. It also extends unemployment insurance for people who have lost work through no fault of their own during the economic downturn. These are important goals, and this bill achieves them.
“The Congressional Budget Office estimates that for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, it puts as much as $1.90 into our economy.* Our policies should decrease unemployment over the long term, but today we need to make decisions helping Americans who face imminent hunger, poverty and homelessness. Today’s assistance is vital to families struggling to keep their homes and feed their children. The money we authorized today will be spent at local businesses around the country, allowing them to create more jobs.
“My Republican colleagues initially opposed this bill. After they stopped obstructing it, they refused to pay for the unemployment extension through options such as a small millionaire surtax. This means these necessary economic boosters are being paid for by cutting health care funding. This was far from an ideal way to handle this bill, and it has not gone unnoticed.
“This bill extends Medicare premium assistance, which I worked to keep in the final version. Approximately 12,500 low income beneficiaries in Arizona receive this assistance, and it was important to me that they continue to receive the help they need.
“Avoiding a steep drop in Medicare physician payments, as this bill does, is the responsible way to help Arizona seniors. Unfortunately, this short-term fix once again fails to include a needed permanent restructuring of the Medicare physician payment system. If my House Republican colleagues were really interested in medical efficiencies and saving taxpayer money, they would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices instead of cutting preventative care.”