By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog
PORTLAND – The majority of Oregon’s federal lawmakers voted for the fiscal cliff deal on Tuesday, calling it protection for the middle class.
Four of the seven elected officials, two U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives, joined the majority of Congress in voting for the deal.
The U.S. Senate approved the deal, 89-8 and the House voted it up, 257-167. The agreement will extend middle-class tax cuts, child-care and educational tax credits and emergency unemployment benefits. People making more than $400,000 a year will face higher tax rates. The deal delays by two months a series of automatic cuts that would have reduced the budgets of many federal programs by up to 10 percent.
Here’s how your lawmakers voted and what they had to say – with links to full statements.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-District 2: Full statement
“The plan passed tonight locks into place current tax rates for middle class families as our economy continues to struggle. It permanently holds down the death tax for small business owners, farmers, and ranchers. It permanently patches the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and extends the higher child tax credit. The plan does away with a new entitlement program created in Obamacare, and stops the President from giving members of Congress a pay increase as the President proposed. Finally, it extends the existing farm bill for one year as Congress works on a new long-term farm bill.”
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-District 1: Full statement
“This bill is not perfect, but it is the result of negotiation and compromise among Congress, the Administration, and the two political parties. These are virtues that all Members of Congress should aspire to, and I sincerely hope that it represents the opening of a new chapter after one of the most inefficient and divisive sessions of Congress in memory.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, Democrat: Full statement
“Without this bill, every family in Oregon would have seen its tax bills go up and our economy would have gone back into a recession. Without this bill, 30,000 unemployed Oregonians would have been cut off at the knees, without money to pay for food or rent as they look for work. And importantly, this bill protects the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits our seniors depend on.”
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat: Full statement
“While the Senate found a way to steer America away from steep income tax increases on the middle class, maintain current reimbursements for doctors serving vulnerable seniors, and provide a break for working class families with children and college students, the manner in which this was produced felt more like Thelma and Louise than rational policy making. I will do everything possible to end the political brinksmanship and work for bipartisan tax, budget and Medicare reforms that create good paying American jobs and protect the Medicare guarantee while holding down health care costs.”
U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-District 5: Full statement
“This is yet another short-term, Band-Aid solution that has become prevalent in Washington as of late,” Rep. Schrader said. “It neither tackles the largest drivers of our deficits, nor lays a framework to say we will do so in the future. I remain staunchly committed to passing a big, bold deficit reduction and jobs package that puts everything on the table, including revenue, spending cuts and entitlement reforms, puts our nation back on a fiscally sound trajectory and promotes growth and certainty for our businesses.”
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-District 3: Full video statement
“We must do better.”
“Middle class Americans and seniors who have earned these benefits should not be asked to shoulder the burden of a deficit caused in large part by eleven years of the Bush tax cuts, two years of the Obama tax cuts, a deep economic recession caused by reckless Wall Street gambling, two wars charged to the credit card, and unrestrained federal spending in other areas.
“We need to address our fiscal issues head on and balance the budget with a balanced approach. This is not a balanced plan and puts in jeopardy Social Security, Medicare and other programs essential to the middle class.”