So we've had our first week back in Washington since the election. There are some positives and negatives. First off, it took until Friday for President Obama to sit down with congressional leaders to discuss the fiscal cliff. He had three press conferences, a meeting with the unions, and a meeting with CEOs, but only on Friday did he start talking to Congress and he's headed to Asia tomorrow. That's the bad news, in my opinion.
The good news is still that I think all parties involved agree that letting the country slide over the fiscal cliff would be a disaster. And while some in the President's party are urging him to let it happen because they believe it will put him in a stronger negotiating position on taxes, I think cooler heads will prevail in the end. I say that because the consensus here is that such a gamble would be extremely dangerous. The experts are saying that for each month that the country is "over the cliff", we will lose 0.3% off of annual economic growth. When economic growth right now only stands at 1.8%, that means that it won't take but a few months before the country dips back into recession. And for the people who are advocating a "brief cliff dive", I think there is a dangerous assumption there that we can control and stop the dominoes once they start to fall.
I know that I represent one of the areas in this country that has been hit particularly hard with job losses and maybe that makes me especially sensitive to this sort of threat. But I think most people are in agreement at this point that anything that would jeopardize recovery is something we would do well to avoid. I think most of us agree that the parties need to come together and get this figured out. And that is possible.
As I said last week, both sides know each other's bottom lines. The House has been offering to increase revenue specifically through tax reform and the economic growth that it will support. We've also said that we need to get our long-term structural deficits and the impending threat to Medicare under control.
At the end of the day, the American people want, expect, and deserve results from their leaders in Washington. And I don't care whose ideas we take so long as the job gets done and we don't put our job creators in a position where they can't get Americans working again. Leadership is essential right now, and while he didn't get my vote, President Obama is still the man whose task it is to bring the American people together. I sincerely hope he makes the decision to do that soon. The sand is very definitely running out of the hourglass here.
As always, I would very much appreciate knowing where you stand on these issues. I've gotten a lot of great feedback this week and it's helpful to be able to tell my colleagues what I'm hearing. So if you have a chance, please drop me a line. And forward this to friends and family as well. I'd like the chance to hear from them too.
Thanks again and I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Member of Congress