Congressman Jim Himes released the following statement regarding the agreement passed yesterday to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." Himes supported the plan, which makes permanent the current income tax rates on income up to $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families and permanently fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax. It includes a five-year extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit and raises the estate tax rate to 40 percent on inheritance above $5 million. The deal also includes a pay freeze for Congress and a temporary fix to the sustainable growth rate formula, or the "doc fix," the figure used to determine reimbursement rates for physicians who serve Medicare patients.
Discussions continue on a plan to replace the across-the-board spending cuts (sequester) required by the Budget Control Act. The legislation passed yesterday postpones those cuts for two months.
"The fiscal agreement passed yesterday, while imperfect and short of what is required for true fiscal stability, will keep tax rates consistent for middle class families in Connecticut and across America and will help the victims hit hardest by the Great Recession--people who have been without work for extended periods of time. It also finally permanently fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax. We need comprehensive tax reform that revises our corporate tax structure to eliminate loopholes and lower rates. We need spending cuts that make the government function more efficiently and fair and equitable reforms to Medicare and Social Security to ensure they exist for future generations. Most importantly, any effort to retool our spending priorities must include recommitting ourselves to the infrastructure and education investments we know are necessary to build a great, innovative nation of shared prosperity. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact meaningful fiscal reform."