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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Nelson, Rubio vote for payroll tax cut extension; Florida reps divided



Florida's Congressional was a mixed bag on today's big payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits deal. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio voted yes while their colleagues in the House were divided.

Voting yes: Gus Bilirakis; Vern Buchanan; Kathy Castor; Ander Crenshaw; Ted Deutch; Mario Diaz-Balart; Connie Mack; David Rivera; Tom Rooney; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Steve Southerland; Cliff Stearns; Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Daniel Webster; C. W. Bill Young.

Voting no: Sandy Adams; Alcee L. Hastings; John L. Mica; Jeff Miller; Rich Nugent; Bill Posey; Dennis Ross; Allen West; Frederica Wilson.

Not voting: Corrine Brown.

Reaction below:



Webster: “Back in December, the Senate and the Obama Administration refused to give tax certainty to millions of hardworking Americans by rejecting the idea of a full-year extension of the payroll tax holiday. A full-year extension injects certainty in the budget planning that most families and small business owners go through each year."

Wilson: “While I am relieved that my constituents will continue to have a little more money in their pockets when they get their paychecks; that if they lost their jobs in the recession and downsizing, they will continue to get the help they need to make ends meet; and that the seniors in my district who depend on Medicare can continue to see their doctors – I cannot condone how the Republicans are going after the pensions of federal workers while they continue to protect millionaires and billionaires.”

Hastings: "This bill raises an additional $15 billion to extend unemployment insurance coverage by requiring federal employees to contribute a larger amount to their retirement accounts.  Federal employees are currently in their second year of a pay freeze while my colleagues across the aisle only a few short weeks ago voted to freeze federal employees’ pay for a third year.

"Republicans don’t think twice about limiting federal workers’ ability to support their families, but are more than willing to shut down the government when bankers are asked to pay their fair share of taxes on their bonuses. How much can we continue to pick on federal workers? They are not fat-cats.  They are postal workers, janitors, teachers, nurses, social workers, and police officers.  When did they become the bad guys? How much can we continue to pile on them before their backs break? How much weight should the wealthiest Americans, who can afford it, carry?"

West: "The facts are simple. This supposed payroll tax decrease is really a backdoor tax increase on homeowners and first time homebuyers. The deal is being paid for by added fees on FHA- backed loans. Homeowners with FHA- backed mortgages represent more than one-third of mortgages in the United States. Those Middle Class Americans will be footing the bill for this political gimmick.

"Homebuyers with a $200,000 standard 30- year loan will have to pay an extra $10,000 over the course of their loan. It would take roughly 250 paychecks with $40 extra from the payroll tax holiday to pay for the added increase to the life of an FHA-backed mortgage loan. That represents ten years of consecutive employment.

"In addition, some may argue the payroll tax deal will not affect Social Security. This could not be further from the truth. The federal government’s general operating account will be used to compensate for the lost revenue in the Social Security Trust Fund, which will increase the deficit and add to the nation’s debt."

[Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2012 1:08pm]


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