Iowa’s two Republican congressmen, Steve King and Tom Latham, rejected the President Obama-approved, U.S. Senate-backed fiscal cliff bill Tuesday night. King and Latham joined 149 other Republicans in shunning the bill. However, 85 House Republicans and 172 Democrats voted in favor of the measure. Now it will be sent to President Obama’s desk and officially approved.
The deal averted the so-called “fiscal cliff”, but it is undoubtedly a victory for Democrats. The bill extends most of the Bush tax cuts, but raises taxes on Americans who make more than $400,000 and couples who make more than $450,000. Last week, House Republicans rejected Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” proposal, which would have set the tax increase cap at $1 million.
“The White House-Senate compromise contains some good provisions I agree with, such as preventing massive tax hikes on most families and finally making the cuts permanent, extending the farm bill, and maintaining the wind energy tax credit,” Congressman Latham said in a statement. “However, it lacks a critical component: necessary spending cuts to address our exploding debt. Our $3.5 trillion budget is and will continue to be our primary fiscal obstacle, and a bill that increases taxes and fails to even begin to address spending decisions is not the action American taxpayers have asked for.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will add $4 trillion to the federal deficit. Initially, the CBO estimated there were $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts contained in the bill. They have since revised that to a still lopsided 10-1 ratio.
“In recent weeks, House Republicans put forth revenue increases as part of a balanced plan that would also tackle Washington’s out-of-control spending. Instead of responding in-kind, the President and Senate leadership focused on tax hikes as the centerpiece of any potential deal, and in so doing, they abandoned the historic opportunity to take on deficit reduction in a serious manner,” Latham said.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) was one of the 85 Republicans that voted in favor of the bill. 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) also supported it. House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-California) opposed the measure. Former presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Texas), who is retiring, abstained from voting on the measure.
Iowa Democrats Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack all voted in favor of the bill. This will be one of Boswell’s final acts as a U.S. congressman.
Both of Iowa’s U.S. senators voted against the measure earlier in the day, for different reasons. Democrat Tom Harkin wanted more tax increases in the bill. Republican Chuck Grassley wanted more spending cuts.
“Because the final legislation asked everything of taxpayers while not forcing Washington to even begin a single step toward curbing its spending addiction, I cannot support it,” Congressman Latham added.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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