1st District Rep. Tim Walz was one of ten Democrats to vote in favor of the Republicans' plan to extend the payroll tax holiday for one year.
Most House Democrats voted against the bill citing concerns with other provisions tacked onto the measure. That included language that would speed up construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast. The bill paid for the tax holiday by extending a pay freeze for civilian federal workers for another year and reducing the government workforce.
Walz issued the following statement about his vote:
"While this bill is anything but perfect, extending tax cuts for middle class families is too important to play politics with. This tax break will go directly into the pockets of hardworking families who will spend it at the local grocery or hardware store. I am sick of the political games being played in Washington. It is time to get things done. Tax breaks for the middle class will strengthen our economy and create jobs that will help us tackle the long-term national debt facing our country."
Also included in the bill is a provision that would allow some renewable energy grants that were part of the federal stimulus package to expire. Republican 2nd District Rep. John Kline supports scrapping these grants citing concerns about how the money could be used for a controversial wind farm in Goodhue County.
“This is a wind energy project Goodhue County citizens don’t want funded by taxpayer money the federal government doesn’t have,” Kline said in a statement. “Given the economic challenges facing our country, we cannot in good conscience use taxpayer dollars to subsidize industries that have failed to demonstrate proven results to help our long-term energy strategy.”
The bill passed 234 to 193. But the Democratically-controlled Senate is unlikely to pass this plan. President Obama has also threatened to veto a bill that includes the Keystone Pipeline language. If Republicans and Democrats fail to reach a deal on the payroll tax holiday it will end up costing the average American family $1,000 next year.