The bill to avert the fiscal cliff passed late in the evening on January 1. I voted against the bill because the so-called deal doesn’t promote economic growth or job creation, it discourages it. Rather than address the drivers of our debt problem, it completely avoids any serious spending reform.
Instead, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said this deal actually adds $4 trillion to the debt and includes forty-one dollars of tax increases for every one dollar of spending cuts.
I don’t want taxes to go up on anyone. I have spent my career fighting to help Wisconsinites keep more of their own money. But this deal only prolongs a debt crisis that will surely hand the taxpayers a bigger bill in the long term and threaten our economic growth.
In 1990, as part of a larger budget agreement, President George H. W. Bush signed a package of tax increases into law— with the promise of future spending cuts. Congress adjourned before the cuts materialized. I will work to make sure history does not repeat itself.
We can’t make that mistake again and we can’t afford to postpone spending cuts. The time to act on our debt is now.
In the next three months, Congress will need to deal with two more fiscal cliff-like situations. On March 1, our nation will hit the debt ceiling again. On March 29, the current funding for the government expires.
Rather than backdoor deals or late-night secret meetings, Congress should legislate transparently and in a way accountable to Americans, through “regular order.” This means that the House would consider legislation through public committee hearings and meetings and conferences with the Senate to work out differences. This ensures that Congress’ deliberations are accountable to the voters who made us their representatives.
The "fiscal cliff" may be over, but our fiscal crisis is not. The upcoming 113th Congress must focus on cutting spending and reforming the structural causes of our debt, including entitlements.