Congress voted late Tuesday night to avoid tax increases and spending cuts that would have taken the nation over the so-called "fiscal cliff."
The end result is that Congress voted to extend existing tax rates that some in Washington called "the Bush tax cuts." The bill as passed also puts automatic spending cuts on hold for two months.
By the time the spending cuts are debated again the new Congress will have been seated. That happens Thursday.
Under redistricting, the Seventh Congressional District will no longer include any of Tredyffrin and Easttown. All of TE will be included in the new Sixth District.
Seventh District Congressmen Patrick Meehan (R-PA7) and Sixth District Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA6) both issued statement late New Year's Day saying they didn't like parts of the "fiscal cliff" bill but voted for it to avoid bigger problems.
Gerlach issued this statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) issued the following statement after the House approved so-called fiscal cliff legislation that rolls back massive tax hikes and delays arbitrary cuts in military and other federal spending:
"The choice came down to whether I would allow the President’s $4.6 trillion tax hike on every taxpayer to stand or act to repeal the tax increases for nearly all the families, small business owners and seniors in my district. An across-the-board tax hike would have meant fewer jobs and made our economy's climb out of this recession even steeper. The lower tax rates will now be permanent for approximately 99 percent of taxpayers and will restore some certainty, which countless business owners have told me is essential for spurring investment and stimulating hiring. Another key component of this legislation prevents a 26.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for doctors. Such a drastic reduction in reimbursement rates would have made it harder for seniors to find a doctor and jeopardized their continued access to high-quality treatment.
Make no mistake. I remain extremely concerned that the President and the Democrat leadership in the Senate continue ignoring the significant threat that our $16.4 trillion debt poses to our country's long-term financial health. I would have preferred not raising taxes on anyone or, at the very least, balancing any revenue increases with honest spending reductions. However, Senate Democrat leadership and the President refused to budge. And this is not the first time the President has balked at tackling spending. He brushed aside recommendations from his own debt commission two years ago, walked away from a House-Senate plan last summer to balance revenue increases with spending reductions and allowed the so-called fiscal cliff deadline to pass without offering serious solutions on spending. The President's pace of spending and debt levels that have grown larger than the total output of our entire economy keep driving our country to the edge of one fiscal cliff after another. And pretty soon the brakes aren't going to work and we'll find ourselves not staring at a fiscal cliff, but reeling in a fiscal free fall. Clearly, we still have plenty of work in the months ahead to provide the fiscal security and spending discipline Americans deserve.”
Meehan issued this statement late Tuesday night:
Meehan Votes for Permanent Middle-Class Tax Cuts
Agreement deprives Washington of $4 trillion in new spending
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA-07) today issued the following statement after voting for the American Taxpayer Relief Act:
“Today the House took action to lower tax rates for 99 percent of hardworking taxpayers and protect our fragile economy. The people of the 7th district sent me to Washington to tackle the big issues, and to get the job done.
“It is an imperfect agreement to be sure. I would have preferred it to contain action to get our arms around our outrageous debt. But failure to pass it would have had disastrous consequences for middle-class families in Pennsylvania and fueled even more Washington spending.
“The consequences of failure are clear. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says a failure to avert the cliff would send our economy back into recession and send unemployment skyrocketing. It would raise taxes on middle-class families by thousands of dollars, and expose 30 million middle-class taxpayers to the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was originally meant to apply only to the wealthy. Seniors and families saving for college and retirement would face new taxes on that savings. I am not willing to let those consequences happen on my watch.
“Instead, this bill permanently lowers taxes for 99 percent of Americans. It protects our fragile economic recovery, and it deprives Washington of $4 trillion in new money from hardworking taxpayers to spend on bigger government.
“Now that the tax portion has been dealt with, we can focus on cutting spending and tackling our debt crisis. Republicans have done our part, and now it's time for Washington Democrats to show their willingness to address our trillion dollar deficits. The President needs to lead in this respect, as he has promised the American people he will do.”
The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. Immediately after the vote, The President credited Vice President Biden with negotiating the compromise in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Mr. Obama then got on board Air Force one bound for Hawaii to resume his family's holiday vacation.