U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today criticized leaders of the House of Representatives for leaving the Capitol for the holidays without addressing the impending fiscal cliff -- now less than two weeks away.
"We must stop this political gamesmanship and get serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that will set us on the path to long-term deficit reduction," Barber added. "House leaders spent most of the week wasting time and further damaging the American people's trust instead of coming up with a real proposal. My constituents are fed up with this nonsense and so am I."
The House left Washington this evening less than two weeks before the nation is scheduled to go over the "fiscal cliff." That is the term given to a series of tax cuts scheduled to expire and deep budget cuts that will be imposed Jan. 2, unless Congress and the president reach agreement.
Barber opposed the Spending Reduction Act of 2012 today. The same bill, which slashes funding for several domestic programs, and would impose steep cuts on Medicare, failed the House in May with many Republicans opposed. Today it passed 215-to-209 with 21 Republicans and all 188 Democrats opposed. The Senate has said it will not consider the bill.
On Jan. 2, across-the-board, automatic spending cuts known as sequestration are scheduled take effect. That would impose $1.2 trillion in cuts -- about half from the military and half from domestic programs including infrastructure, education, health care and public safety.
The Spending Reduction Act of 2012 would mean steep reductions in food assistance and school lunch programs, further cuts to the child tax credit and health care for kids, and eliminated funding for services for seniors and people with disabilities.
"We must stop this posturing and come to an immediate solution to extend the income tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses and stop sequestration," Barber said today. "And we must have a balanced and bipartisan approach. That is the only way that we can create jobs, continue our economic recovery and address the deficit and restore faith so that we can find common ground to get the nation's financial house in order."