Today, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) voted against a measure that raises taxes on American families and businesses, and increases the size of government without including any spending reforms to address the $16.3 trillion national debt. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill increases tax revenues by $620 billion while cutting only $15 billion in spending.
Following the vote, Tipton issued this statement:
"Washington did not tax its way to a $16.3 trillion debt; it spent its way there. The Senate package does nothing to address the spending crisis in this country that has resulted in four straight years of trillion dollar deficits and a $16.3 trillion debt. In May and August of this past year, the House passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff, avoid sequestration, and protect all Americans from tax increases. The Senate refused to act then, and instead sent an incomplete package in the dead of night to the House that fails to address spending in any way and kicks the can down the road. The Senate bill raises $41 in revenues for every $1 dollar of spending cuts. It is nothing more than business as usual as Washington tries to increase the size of government on the backs of the hard working American people. The failure to face the real issue--the spending crisis in this country--is irresponsible, dysfunctional and egregious.
"The business as usual mentality of Washington is what brought us the fiscal cliff in the first place, and ultimately, is what feeds the economic uncertainty that has lead to credit downgrades and 23 million unemployed Americans. It's irresponsible to punt on spending reform, and even worse to put it off until the country is up against the debt ceiling, further jeopardizing the United States' credit rating, creating additional economic uncertainty. Adding insult to injury, taxes are going to go up on thousands of small businesses. These businesses will be forced to lay off employees, cut benefits, and delay hiring, all in order to foot the bill for a package that, at the end of the day, does nothing to solve the fiscal crisis.
"The people of my district want a balanced solution that deals with the national debt now by cutting wasteful spending in Washington; a solution that would provide long-term certainty to grow the economy, and get people back to work. A package that raises taxes, grows government, and punts on spending does not achieve these goals and is unacceptable. It's time the President and Congress do what is right--not what is easy--to fix the problem.
"Medicare and Social Security are on the path to bankruptcy if we do not act to get spending under control, as are countless other safety nets and valuable programs. Washington cannot continue to mortgage our children and grandchildren's future by delaying or blocking every meaningful attempt to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal course. The time to act is now, and I will fight to get spending under control in this country, eliminate waste, and do what is responsible for future generations."
The federal deficit has surpassed a trillion dollars for the fourth year in a row. To put the situation in perspective, the average American family now owes $137,000 as a share of the national debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the annual interest payments on this debt amount to $220 billion per year, or enough money to send 40 million students to college on Pell Grants. It's projected to reach $770 billion by 2020.
On August 8th, 2012 the House passed H.R. 8, the Jobs Protection and Recession Prevention Act. If acted upon by the Senate and signed into law by the President, the House version of H.R. 8 would have avoided unnecessary tax increases on all Americans and put into place a pathway to a simpler and fairer tax code. In May of 2012, the House passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, H.R. 5652 would have replaced the economically harmful cuts associated with the fiscal cliff with targeted cuts to ensure the integrity of our defense department and protect programs that seniors rely on.