Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement after the House on Tuesday extended tax cuts for America’s middle class through the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, H.R. 8, by a vote of 257 yeas to 167 nays:
“While not perfect, today’s bipartisan compromise is an important step toward ensuring that our nation’s economy continues to strengthen and improve as we begin the New Year.
“This legislation is much more balanced than proposals House Republicans have pushed over the past year. It keeps tax rates low for middle class families while asking the wealthiest among us to chip in a little bit more. It preserves tax credits that help make education affordable and support strong families, and extends unemployment insurance for those still looking for work.
“It also creates stability in the tax system so businesses small and large can make investments in the future and have access to incentives to help advance areas like clean energy. The bill also supports our seniors by making sure that doctors who serve Medicare patients get fairly compensated.
“In addition, the bill provides another two months to reach a balanced compromise to avoid the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration that we all recognize would hurt our economy. And this bill rightly freezes the pay of members of Congress, who should not receive a raise while our economy is still so fragile.
“While it’s good that this deal is done for now, Congress has a lot more work to do in the coming months. We still have to avoid defaulting on our nation’s debt and avoid the rest of the across-the-board cuts. Failing to address these critical issues responsibly would be a disaster for our economic recovery.
“It is my hope that the governing by gamesmanship will end. If it doesn’t and we continue lurching from one manufactured crisis to another we’ll be putting our nation’s future in jeopardy. Let us all hope that cooler heads will prevail in the 113th Congress for the good of the people of Hawaii and our nation.”
The legislation now goes to President Obama for his signature.