Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved the Senate-passed fiscal cliff agreement to extend and make permanent low tax rates for individuals earning up to $400,000 per year and families earning $450,000. The legislation delays devastating military cuts for two months and prevents numerous other damaging tax policies including an increase in the Alternative Minimum Tax.
"This agreement is far from perfect, but preventing the largest tax increase in history and making tax cuts permanent for 98 percent of taxpayers is a major victory for American workers and for the economy.
"While I would prefer a combination of tax cuts and spending cuts, passage of this bill lays the groundwork for significant spending reductions in the coming weeks. With tax rate increases off the table, President Obama and Senate Democrats will be forced to confront reality and accept spending and entitlement reforms.
"Passage of permanent tax relief ensures that the upcoming budget debates will be solely focused on spending restraint. Congress will have three significant opportunities in the next three months to reduce the deficit when we debate the debt ceiling, the across-the-board sequestration cuts, and the government funding bill that expires in March. The fiscal cliff is certainly not the last debate we'll have over spending, but it is the last time President Obama will be able to threaten massive tax increases to avoid addressing the real causes of our debt."