Economy & Budget

Eight is not enough; Paul, Rubio, 6 others oppose ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

Eight is not enough; Paul, Rubio, 6 others oppose 'fiscal cliff' deal
Sen. Randal H. "Rand" Paul (R.-Ky.)

Five Republicans and three Democrats voted against the “fiscal cliff” compromise crafted by Vice-President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and the Senate’s Republican leadership that passed the chamber Jan. 1 with 89 votes.

The five Republicans were: Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R.-Iowa), Sen. Michael Lee (R.-Utah), Sen. Rand H. Paul (R.-Ky.), Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R.-Ala.), Sen. Marco A. Rubio (R.-Fla.).

The three Democrats were: Sen. Thomas R. Harkin (D.-Iowa), Sen. Michael F. Bennett (D.-Colo.), Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D.-Del.).

The compromise, fashioned by Minority Leader A. Mitchell McConnell Jr., and Biden, extends the current federal tax regime for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year and households earning more than $450,000, as well as postponing spending decisions another two months.

“I appreciate all the hard work that went into avoiding the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ I especially commend Senator McConnell’s efforts to make the best out of a bad situation,” said Rubio.

“Nevertheless, I cannot support the arrangement they have arrived at. Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing,” he said. “But, rapid economic growth and job creation will be made more difficult under the deal reached here in Washington.”

Rubio said the reality of the bill’s tax increases is going to hit real Americans hard.

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Sen. Marco A. Rubio (R.-Fla.)

“Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax and, chances are, they’ll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make,” the Floridian said. “To make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control.”

Paul said he voted against the bill because it was a spending bill, not a tax cut bill.

The negotiators, who crafted the compromise, see to continue the destructive behavior that he was sent to fix, he said.

“They are demanding we raise taxes on working families and small businesses – and worse – using these tax increases for more government spending,” Paul said. “Sending more taxpayer dollars to Washington isn’t the solution to this situation; cutting wasteful government spending and enabling Americans to keep more of their own money is.”

Wisconsin’s Republican Sen. Ronald H. Johnson, one of the 40 Republicans supporting the bill, said his support was half-hearted.

“Although I strongly prefer extension of current tax rates for all Americans, I supported the compromise bill that protects 99 percent of Wisconsinites from an income tax increase, limits the death tax, and prevents a dramatic increase in milk prices. It is by no means a perfect piece of legislation,” he said.

“Our nation’s debt now stands at $16.4 trillion, and has reached its statutory limit. We blew through the $2.1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling granted in August 2011 in only 17 months,” he said.

“This is clearly unsustainable, and President Obama must begin to work with Congress to reduce the size, scope, and cost of government,” he said.

“The revenue raised by this legislation will equal approximately 7 percent of projected deficits,” he said.

Johnson said it is now time for President Barack Obama and the Democrats to find the other 93 percent.

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