As you have likely read in various media outlets, the fiscal cliff negotiations have basically shut down. It is still possible to avert the fiscal cliff, and I truly hope we will, but we need to see some action from the President and the Senate. However, it has become clear that the President wants to go over the cliff because he believes this will help him politically.
The media made a big deal of the fact that Republican leadership in the House pulled a tax bill due to lack of votes. Some of the reporting on the bill makes it sound as if the failure to pass this bill means the House has refused to take action to avert the cliff. Nothing could be further from the truth. The House has voted on several measures this year to extend current tax rates and replace defense sequestration cuts — the two biggest issues in the fiscal cliff debate. Therefore, the Senate has legislation they can work with to get a bill through both chambers.
The House of Representatives has expressed its will in these votes. We want tax rates to stay the same for one year so we can enact fundamental tax reform on an expedited basis. We also want to replace arbitrary and dangerous defense cuts with other spending cuts that won’t damage our national security. Until the President and the Senate take action, it isn’t possible to shape legislation that can make it through both houses of Congress. Hopefully Senator Reid will work on a bill next week. I will keep you updated.
Although I will have a longer thank you to all of my constituents next week, here is my farewell address on the house floor from last week.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!