Late last evening Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04) voted "no" on the Senate agreement on the so-called fiscal cliff, citing the lack of spending cuts and the resulting increase in the debt by $4 trillion over the next ten years. The bill passed the House by a vote of 257 -- 167, with 85 Republicans and 172 Democrats voting in favor.
"We needed to keep the tax rates from increasing -- but we also needed to find the spending cuts necessary not only to prevent an increase in the debt but also to reduce the debt," Hall said. "Our economy is suffering from the weight of the federal debt, and the Senate agreement ignores the difficult decisions that need to be made about spending cuts and reforms that would put us back on a proper fiscal path."
"My constituents expressed their strong opinion that I should oppose any agreement that did not include significant spending cuts," Hall noted. "I agreed with them and so voted -- and I will continue to support efforts to cut federal spending and reduce the deficit in the coming weeks."
"Speaker Boehner stated that 2013 must be about cutting spending and reforming the tax code and that the Republican majority in the House will hold the President accountable for the balanced approach he promised during his re-election campaign," Hall said. "While 85 Republicans voted for the bill to avoid the fiscal cliff, a majority of our caucus voted no because the Senate bill did not address the spending cuts that we need to ensure a sound economy."
"We missed an opportunity to put in place a plan that would avoid the fiscal cliff and enact spending cuts and tax reforms to reduce the debt and help restore fiscal responsibility," Hall said. "The American people gave the Republican Party a majority in the U.S. House, which has the Constitutional duty and authority to set tax and spending policies. We are fighting a battle against a liberal President, a liberal Senate, and a liberal press. We hope the American people will insist on a balanced, common-sense, and Constitutional approach and will convey their wishes to the President and the Senate."