Vote to avoid fiscal cliff is “fiscal farce,” according to Sen. Grassley


January 2nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Members of Iowa’s congressional delegation split on party lines in last night’s (Tuesday) vote to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and budget cuts. All three Iowa House Democrats voted for the measure while both Republicans opposed it. Earlier in the day, Iowa’s two U-S senators voted against the legislation. Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley said “no” to the measure. Senator Grassley says President Obama has made his position obvious. “Already in addition to what was passed yesterday, the president has made it clear he wants to raise taxes even more,” Grassley says. “You can’t raise taxes high enough to satisfy the appetite of Washington to spend money.”

Strong presidential leadership is what the nation needs, Grassley says, to bring about what he calls fiscal restraint. “Everybody knows the problem is spending,” Grassley says. “Because, raise all the taxes the president wants and it only takes care of about 10% of our annual deficit of over a trillion dollars. We’ve got a spending problem, not a taxing problem.” It’s a “fiscal farce,” according to Grassley, to raise taxes and hurt economic growth only to fuel more government spending with record deficits and debt. The New Hartford native says President Obama focused on raising taxes and failed to put Washington on a new path toward “fiscal discipline.” Grassley says, “If he wants to make history and have a legacy, then it would be nice to have presidential leadership in helping us solve this spending problem, the deficit problem and in particular, with the 44% of the spending that is Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, bring that to the table.”

In a statement, Senator Harkin said he is –quote — “All for compromise, but a compromise that sets a new tax threshold for the wealthiest Americans while neglecting the very backbone of our country – the middle class – is a compromise I simply cannot support. This is the wrong direction for Iowa and our country, and at a time when our fragile economy cannot sustain further damage.”

In the House, Democrats Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell all voted “yes” on the measure, while Republicans Tom Latham and Steve King voted “no.” Democrat Braley, in a news release, said: “The legislation would cut taxes for over 99 percent of Iowans, help keep food and milk prices low by renewing the Farm Bill for nine months, encourage Iowa investment by extending the wind energy production tax credit, help more children find loving homes by permanently extending the adoption tax credit, keep doctors practicing in Iowa by preventing a cut in Medicare reimbursements, and reduce the cost of college tuition for Iowa families. For the first time in 20 years, Congress will have acted on a bipartisan basis for significant new revenue, resulting in the most progressive tax code in decades.”

In his statement, Republican Latham said: “The White House-Senate compromise contains some good provisions I agree with, such as preventing massive tax hikes on most families and finally making the cuts permanent, extending the farm bill, and maintaining the wind energy tax credit. However, it lacks a critical component: necessary spending cuts to address our exploding debt. Our $3.5 trillion budget is and will continue to be our primary fiscal obstacle.”

(Radio Iowa)