Local members of the House of Representatives voted along ideological lines Tuesday night when faced with an “up-or-down” vote on legislation that passed the Senate early Tuesday morning in an attempt to avoid policy changes referred to as the “fiscal cliff.”
Republicans Renee Ellmers (2nd District, Dunn) and Walter Jones (3rd District, Farmville) both voted against the bill, while Democrat G.K. Butterfield (1st District, Wilson) voted for it. The bill passed the House by a 257-167 vote, with 85 Republicans voting for the plan.
Both Ellmers and Jones expressed deep concerns about the plan, which will raise more than $620 billion in tax revenues over the next ten years, primarily through increases to top marginal tax rates.
Exemptions and deductions were capped for households making more than $250,000 per year, and the top marginal income tax and capital gains tax rates were increased to 39.6% for income and 20% for capital gains for households earning more than $450,000 per year.
While some supporters argued that these new rates are below what would have happened had the “fiscal cliff” been taken effect following expiration of tax rate reductions instituted during the administration of President George W. Bush, the financial impact of the new tax rates still results in an actual tax increase compared to 2012.
From Congresswoman Ellmers:
“Last night, I voted against the Senate’s compromise bill. This was supposed to be a deficit reduction bill, not a deficit increase that adds trillions to our deficit while increasing taxes. I could not support a measure that adds trillions to our deficits while increasing taxes by $41 for every $1 in spending cuts. Additionally, this deal continues to give tax advantages to big businesses while small businesses – the real lifeblood of our economy – are left to shoulder the burden and pay the bills.”
“We must get serious about addressing the true driver of the fiscal mess that our nation is in. Our out-of-control spending does nothing to help American families and only exacerbates the problems facing our country. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the real sources of this crisis and continuing the fight against government waste in the 113th Congress.”
From Congressman Jones:
“I’m tired of seeing Congress and the White House rob our children and grandchildren,” said Congressman Jones. “America is nearly broke financially because its political leadership keeps passing bills like this that simply kick the can down the road. $40 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts? Adding $4 trillion to the debt? Are you kidding?”
“The way this deal went down reinforces what America hates about the way Washington is being run,” continued Congressman Jones. “Backroom deals done in the middle of the night at the zero hour are never good for the American people. This will be no exception. We’re already hearing that millions in special corporate welfare subsidies were included for Hollywood, algae producers, electric motorcycles and many others.”
Congressman Butterfield did not release a statement regarding his vote in support of the plan and its tax increases.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reported that their analysis concludes 77% of American households will see a tax increase as a result of the plan, which was signed into law today by President Obama. The main impact on most families is the expiration of a temporary 2% reduction in payroll taxes, which was not extended.
The bill, which only included $1 in budget cuts for every $41 of increased taxes, also did not address increasing the Federal debt limit, which was maxed out at the end of 2012 according to the Treasury Department. The bill also did not include additional disaster assistance for those affected by Superstorm Sandy late last October, prompting significant anger by politicians from the worst hit areas of New York and New Jersey.