Idaho delegation weighs in on fiscal cliff
January 2, 2013
Idaho's First District U.S. Congressional
delegation issued statements regarding the
passage New Years Day of a deal to stave off a
looming fiscal crises, and while the statements
differ, all agree the deal leaves a lot of work
to be done.
The deal, finalized Monday night by
Vice-President Joe Biden and Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell on New Year's Eve, passed
the Senate Tuesday morning by a vote of 89-9,
the passed the House that evening, 257-167.
Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch issued
this joint statement after voting to support
compromise “fiscal cliff” legislation.
"The compromise that we supported protects
99-percent of all Idahoans from a tax increase
and also protects the vast majority of our farm
families from a permanent tax increase. This is
a victory for working Idahoans, but we must now
be very aggressive in finding appropriate
But Congressman Raul Labrador, who voted against
the measure in the House, called it "worse than
no deal at all."
“Like I have been saying for months, bills that
pass during lame duck sessions are not good for
the country," his statement reads. "This was a
difficult vote, but as far as I am concerned,
the Biden-McConnell deal is worse than no deal
at all. It temporarily ends the debate but does
nothing to solve the problems that our country
faces—in fact, it is a perfect example of why
our country is $16 trillion in debt. The deal
does nothing to address out of control spending
and delays the only meaningful cuts Congress has
been able to pass in the last two years.
"The president campaigned on a promise of a
balanced approach -- $2.50 in spending cuts for
every dollar of tax increases. Today's deal does
not even accomplish that goal. The problems that
have brought us to the edge of this ‘fiscal
cliff’ can never be fixed with revenues alone.
Both parties must rein in out-of-control
spending. Today, I’m not sure either party is
serious about reducing our debt and deficits.
"Families across the country have had to learn
how to do more with less but Washington has not
been willing to do the same. Both parties and
the president need to put partisan politics and
tactics aside and actually make meaningful
decisions that will fix our fiscal mess.”
According to Forbes Magazine, the key features
of the bill are:
-- For American families with income more than
$450,000 and individuals making more than
$400,000, tax rates increase to Clinton
Administration levels. Below those wage levels,
income taxes will remain unchanged. (Basically,
98% of Bush Tax Cuts will become permanent.
Under the Bush Administration, the breaks
expired after a decade.)
-- The wealthiest, those making
$450,000/$400,000, will pay 20% on capital gains
and dividends. Everyone else will pay 15%.
Estate tax will be 40% for the wealthy.
-- Several tax breaks for middle class and lower
income Americans are extended for five years:
the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax
Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
-- Several deductions used by wealthier
Americans will be re-imposed: the Personal
Exemption Phase-out will be at $250,000 and the
itemized deduction limitation, the so-called
Pease provision, kicks in at $300,000.
-- The Alternative Minimum Tax will be adjusted
-- Medicare cuts will not happen. Temporary
business tax breaks will exist for another year,
as will federal benefits for those unemployed
longer than 26 weeks.
-- A nine-month farm bill will avoid milk
doubling in price.
-- Raises taxes on 77% of Americans. The average
wage earner bringing in $30,000 a year will pay
an additional $50 per month in federal taxes. Mostly this
is because the payroll tax holiday expires.
-- The Congressional pay raise that had earlier
been agreed upon will not happen.
According to the Congressional Budget Office,
the bill will add $4 trillion to the U.S.
deficit over the next decade; that's a four
followed by 12 zeroes. Tax increases will raise
around $600 billion over the next decade; that's
six followed by 11 zeroes.
To simplify the equation and put it on terms
most citizens are better familiar with, you can
remove 10 of the zeroes and put it on a
household scale. Over a period of ten years,
debt will increase by $400. Wages will go up by
That is a disparity of $340, which is a pretty
big number when you put all the zeroes back on.
The federal government, apparently, is at the
top of the debt collection "no call" list.
In remarks after the passage, President Barack
Obama lauded the bipartisan effort to reach an
accord and he is expected to sign the bill into
law in the next few days.
“Everybody worked very hard on this,” he said.
“Under this law 98% of Americans, and 97% of
small businesses will not see their income taxes
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