We are 31 days away from the fiscal cliff. Unless Congress acts before January 1, 2013, we will see an expiration of the Bush tax cuts along with major decreases in defense spending and other critical programs. Approximately 90% of Americans would see their taxes increase next year, and over two million jobs could be lost if these spending cuts and tax hikes take effect.
Our country has a spending problem. It’s as simple as that. We urgently need to make cuts to the federal budget, but there’s a right way, and a wrong way, to do that. National defense should not bear the brunt of efforts to cut spending. If we don’t find replacement cuts for defense sequestration cuts, that’s exactly what will happen.
Sequestration cuts are automatic spending reductions that are triggered if lawmakers don’t reduce spending as required by the “Budget Control Act." Unfortunately, the House and Senate have not been able to reach an agreement to make these required budget cuts, which could trigger massive reductions in spending on our military at the beginning of next year. These cuts would hit our military hard, and put our national security in peril.
In the House, Republicans have taken every possible step to stop these reckless defense cuts and tax increases. In fact, I supported legislation that would replace major defense cuts with alternative spending reductions. I also supported legislation that would extend the Bush tax cuts for one year and establish a framework for reforming our nation’s tax code. Unfortunately, the President and the Senate have refused to take up these alternative proposals.
Compromise hasn’t been reached yet, but there is still time, and I’m confident that Congress can come together and fix some of the big problems our country faces. In order to get to a compromise however, all involved in the negotiations will have to give something up. The President and Senate Democrats can’t insist on massive tax increases while ignoring our country’s spending problem and the need for entitlement and tax reform.
The fiscal cliff poses a serious threat to our economy and our military. However, in dealing with this threat Congress has the opportunity to make real reforms and fix big problems. Congress should seize that opportunity, and make needed reforms to the tax code and entitlement programs. Americans and small businesses spend too much time and money trying to figure out their taxes, and our entitlement programs aren’t sustainable over the long term. We need reform to balance competitiveness, fairness, and simplicity while providing adequate revenues to fund our government’s financial obligations.
I am confident that lawmakers can come together to avert this crises in a way that makes our country stronger over the long term. We’ll need to make tough choices, and make serious sacrifices, but I am confident that we can get something done. I will continue to work to prevent this crisis from occurring, and protect the interests of the 12th Congressional District.
Member of Congress