January 30, 2013
Dear Mr. LaBarre.
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the fiscal cliff. I appreciate hearing from you.
On January 1, 2013, if Congress had not reached an agreement, a $494 billion tax increase would have fallen on American taxpayers. The tax increase was the result of the expiration of many long-standing policies that expired at the end of 2012, such as the Bush tax cuts. Additionally, the Budget Control Act passed in 2011 created a super committee with the intent to find $1.2 trillion in savings. When the super committee failed to reach an agreement it triggered automatic budget cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over nine years. Sequestration cuts were to begin on January 2, 2013. These two main issues and several other smaller expiring provisions made up what was commonly known as the fiscal cliff.
It is important to know Congress knew about these coming deadlines for many months. The House acted months ahead of the deadline to comprehensively deal with both issues. On August 1st, 2012 H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 256-171. This legislation would have extended current income tax rates and the tax rates for dividend and capital gain income through the end of 2013. The legislation would have also extended the current rates for everyone. Secondly on May 10 , 2012, the house passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which replaced the over $100 billion in scheduled automatic cuts with roughly $300 billion in savings over ten years; it did this by cutting programs such as food stamps. I voted for these bills because they prevented taxes from going up on any American while we are in the midst of a weak economy and because they began to tackle the reckless spending that plagues Washington.
While the House acted months before the deadlines, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with his Democratic colleges, did little to avoid this fiscal cliff. President Obama and Senate Democrats severely criticized the House, yet the Senate failed to pass any legislation to address these issues until 1:39 AM on January 1st. This legislation was over 150 pages in length and was given to the Senators only minutes before it was passed, meaning they had no chance to read it before voting on it. At its core this legislation was a $600 billion tax hike and it only delayed the automatic spending cuts by two months. It did almost nothing to address the core problem facing our country-overspending. Additionally, this legislation includes tax breaks for NASCAR, the rum industry, and Hollywood elites. These provisions were requested to be included by the Obama administration. Wasteful pork like this leaves Americans with little confidence in Washington.
I received many comments from impassioned constituents, such as yours, about the fiscal cliff. I keep these comments in mind when making decisions in addition to taking time to carefully study the legislation. After careful consideration, I voted against this measure. However, H.R. 8 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 256 -171 and was later signed by the President.
Now that the President has received the tax increase that he deemed necessary and campaigned extensively for, it is time for his Administration to put aside partisan attacks and focus on what will actually fix our economy: spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
For more information about my efforts on behalf of Colorado and to receive periodic Congressional updates, please visit my website at Lamborn.house.gov.
Doug Lamborn Member of Congress