What they’re saying about the fiscal cliff

[Related article: Local Politicians Split on Fiscal Cliff Bill]

The following are remarks from state and local congressional lawmakers about the fiscal cliff deal.

From U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

“Speaker Boehner and our leadership deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they have done in our efforts to solve the problem and avert the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have shown no willingness to address the real root of the problem – Washington’s out-of-control spending.

“House Republicans passed a number of bills with bipartisan support prior to the election last year to deal with the tax extenders, put in place a plan for tax reform, and prevent the devastating defense cuts that will come as a result of sequestration. If the President and Senate Democrats were truly serious about solving our nation’s fiscal problems, they should have stayed in DC and off the campaign trail until they were able to get something done.”

“It is disrespectful to the American people for Majority Leader Reid to wait until the last minute to pass a bill at 2am on New Year’s Day. Leaders make choices. Their choice was inaction and the consequence has been a classic tax and spend DC drama.

“This bill only makes the situation worse. It imposes job-killing tax hikes, does nothing to restrain spending, adds to our annual deficit, and increases our debt by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade.”

From Memphis congressman Steve Cohen:

“I’m going to vote for it. Not because I think it’s all the best, sugar and spice and everything nice, but because, for one thing, I believe our president and vice president know what they can get in a negotiated deal with the Republican side in the Senate and what might pass this House as well. And they know what our country needs. And my district can’t afford to wait a few days and have the stock market go down 300 points tomorrow if we don’t get together and do something. And people in my district need unemployment compensation … it’s important we keep this country moving in the right direction.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander:

“This agreement rescues 99 percent of Americans from individual and estate tax increases in 2013, and then makes these lower rates permanent, providing certainty and creating jobs. But the Medicare fiscal cliff is still ahead of us, which is why Senator Corker and I have a proposal to deal with the out-of-control spending that will soon bankrupt the programs seniors rely on to pay their medical bills. If we don’t deal with this during the debt ceiling debate, we are on the road to becoming Greece.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:

“I am disappointed we could not address our country’s fiscal issues all at once, but unfortunately, the president made it clear that he was only willing to do this in two steps and leveraged the country and the economy to force revenues to be dealt with first. Now that we’ve addressed the revenue part of the equation, it’s time to move on to the spending reductions that will be part of the debt ceiling package. Passing fundamental entitlement reform is the most important action we can take in ensuring our country’s solvency and now we must have the courage to finish the job and make the tough choices necessary to get these problems behind us once and for all.”

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