Durbin: GOP should back payroll tax cut
CHAMPAIGN — Members of Illinois' congressional delegation should abide by a Senate-negotiated plan to preserve a federal payroll tax cut and to maintain unemployment benefits, Sen. Dick Durbin warned today.
Durbin toured the Epiworks manufacturing plant in north Champaign Monday morning with fellow Democrats state Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign, state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson of Urbana and Champaign Mayor Don Gerard.
"The Senate passed a bipartisan measure 89-10 — an overwhelming bipartisan roll call — last week and sent the measure to the House. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has announced that he opposes it and he's going to try to try to reject it. If he does, it literally means 160 million Americans, middle class working families, will see an increase in their payroll tax on January 1st," Durbin said. "That is exactly the wrong thing for this moment in our economy."
He called on Illinois congressmen "to give the same bipartisan support to this proposal that we were able to find in the United States Senate."
Durbin said the payroll tax extension agreement was negotiated among Republicans and Democrats.
"What we did was the leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, the Democrat, sat down with Speaker Boenher and his Republican counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, about 10 days ago, and he said let's work something out," Durbin said. "Speaker Boehner said to him, 'You work it out with Mitch McConnell. I don't want to be part of that conversation. I'm not involved in it.' We reached an agreement with Senator McConnell."
Boehner "pulled the rug out from under us," Durbin said.
"It is the kind of political move we have seen over and over again by the Republican-led House," he said. "I sincerely hope that our delegation, the Republicans in the delegation, will break from the Speaker and stand with the Republicans in the Senate."
The Senate will not consider a revised agreement, Durbin said.
"They need 100 senators to give unanimous consent to return," he said. "And they've been spread to the winds. Everyone's gone. We were told to 'pass this on a bipartisan basis and you can go home.' We did. We passed this bill 89-10.
"We had high-fives on the floor among Republican senators that we finally reached an agreement after so many contentious battles."
Durbin said Boehner "got on a conference call with his tea party members and they of course blew up and said that our job here is to shake things up."
The House is expected to take up the Senate bill Monday night.