Updated: Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013, 6:16 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013, 10:28 AM EST
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - While the House passed legislation to keep America from going over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” local lawmakers voted no on the measure.
All four Hampton Roads representatives voted no on the measure. Some offered statements to explain their votes.
Rep. Rob Wittman (R, VA-1):
"I regretfully voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act today because it unfortunately does what Congress does best - kicks the can down the road. While I support low tax rates for Americans and have previously voted to ensure taxes do not go up on hardworking Americans, I could not vote for this bill because it does nothing to reform our long-term spending problems, which are the real drivers of our debt and deficits. In addition, this bill postpones sequestration, the disastrous defense cuts, for only two months. This creates even more uncertainty for our defense industry, which is so vital to the security of this nation. This bill is the epitome of what is wrong with Washington - waiting until the very last minute to pass a package negotiated by only a few. On this New Year's Day, I am deeply disappointed that we are not moving forward with what is best for this Nation - a sustainable, long-term path that will place us on strong financial footing for our children and grandchildren."
Rep. Scott Rigell (R, VA-2):
"I have consistently called for a comprehensive solution to our nation's fiscal crisis, one that reduces spending - the principal driver of our deficit - and generates more revenue through tax reform and economic growth. While the bill that came to the floor does generate additional revenue, it fails to reduce spending. In fact it increases spending.
"The President called for a balanced approach to our fiscal crisis, which, in principle, I fully support. But the bill we received from the Senate was not balanced. Instead, it reflects the seductive philosophy that pervades this town: 'The fight is always around the corner.' This has to end.
"The time to lead and make tough decisions to restore our nation's financial health is now. There is a better way. We're Americans. Let's find it."
Rep. Bobby Scott (D, VA-3):
"The Simpson-Bowles Commission set a $4 trillion, 10-year deficit reduction goal, which would be enough to get our fiscal house in order. Considering that deficit reduction goal, I voted against this bill because it cut taxes and will add a staggering $3.9 trillion to our deficit with no indication of how it will be paid for.
"Unfortunately, there are now very few options available to Congress to offset the cost of this tax deal. There simply isn't enough money in defense and non-defense discretionary spending to offset the cost. If spending cuts in defense and non-defense discretionary spending alone was the answer then we wouldn't be delaying sequestration for two months as this bill does. By virtue of the size of this tax cut, it is an arithmetic certainty that Congress will have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other vital programs of the social safety net, as well as investments in our future economic competitiveness, such as education and transportation.
"Responsibly reducing our budget deficit requires making tough, unpopular choices. We didn't do that today since this bill does nothing to reduce our deficit. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will add $3.9 trillion to our deficit. It does, however, make the task of responsibly reducing our deficit all the more difficult and makes it much more likely that seniors, the disabled, students, and our most vulnerable communities will bear the greatest burden when Congress eventually pays for what we did today."
Rep. Randy Forbes (R, VA-4) posted this document on his website prior to the vote to explain how he felt about it. He voted no on the measure.
Senator-elect Tim Kaine released the following statement following the votes:
"I'm pleased that the House and Senate have acted in a bipartisan and cooperative fashion to pass this important legislation to protect the middle class and avert a short-term fiscal crisis. This bill is far from perfect, and it's time Congress stops kicking the can down the road on a long-term solution to our fiscal problems. But it's an encouraging sign that Congress can put partisanship aside for the good of our economy and the American people. Much work remains to be done and I look forward to tackling our ongoing budget issues after I'm sworn in on Thursday."
Since late 2011, Senator-elect Kaine has consistently promoted a similar compromise to the Senate bill on the Bush tax cuts, calling for the tax cuts to expire on income above $500,000 per year as part of a balanced approach of spending cuts, economic growth and increased revenue to help get the nation's fiscal house in order.”
To see how others voted, click here.
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