Mr. TONKO. Madam Speaker, well, here we are on the last day of calendar year 2012 with an impending fiscal cliff challenging all of us.
The women and men who serve in this great body assemble and express great differences, but those differences ought not divide us; they should build us with the best consensus.
We need a bold and balanced approach to this fiscal cliff. We need to make certain that the 33 consecutive months of private sector job growth are not disrupted. We need to make certain that the unemployment rate does not rise as the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, suggests, to 9.1 percent. We need to avoid taxes growing by $2,200 for an average family of four in 2013. That's what's impending here. It is important for us to go forward and take the initiative and avoid the consequences of that fiscal cliff.
I'm concerned because FEMA, as an example, would be cut by some $878 million. Having witnessed the destruction in my district, we can ill-afford that. Cuts to nutrition programs, cuts to Medicare. I implore our leadership in this House, bring a bold and balanced approach to solve our fiscal cliff crisis here today.