As we near the end of the year, I'm sure many of you have been hearing a lot about the fiscal cliff our country now faces. The fiscal cliff refers to a group of laws that are set to change or expire at the end of the year if Congress takes no action. Among these laws are the end of last year's temporary payroll tax cut, the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax, the end of the tax cuts from 2001-2003, and the beginning of taxes related to the Affordable Care Act.
At the same time, the spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will begin to go into effect. These spending cuts, referred to as sequestration, will take effect in 2013, slashing all federal spending across-the-board, including defense spending, to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.
Without Congressional action to address the fiscal cliff, the impact on our economy would be dramatic. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the policies set to go into effect could send the economy into another recession. At the same time, our nation's unemployment rate would rise and taxes would increase.
As Members of Congress return to our nation's capitol this week, they must dedicate themselves to working together for the good of the American people and averting the fiscal cliff we now face. This is our nation's opportunity to show the world how to lead, that America can step up and solve its own problems. We must not let partisanship prevail.
There is no one silver bullet that will get our nation's fiscal house back in order. We have to take a comprehensive approach to our nation's finances. Everything must be on the table including cutting government spending, tax reform, budget process reforms, the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse, and duplicative government programs.
Instead of the political games that have been played recently over our country's fiscal position, the American people deserve a serious conversation, and that is my goal as your Congressman.
Members of Congress must recognize that we have the opportunity and responsibility to come together as Americans, stop the partisan bickering and put forward a plan that gets our fiscal house back in order. Members of both parties should be willing to reach across the aisle, compromise and work together to find a bold, bipartisan and balanced approach to solving this nation's long-term fiscal crisis and put us on a path to fiscal stability.
I have always stood ready and willing to work with both sides to pass bipartisan, commonsense legislation that reins in deficit spending and gets our economy back on track. And as a fiscal conservative, I will continue to be a moderating voice in this debate, bringing everyone to the table as we find commonsense ideas that help us avert this fiscal cliff and return to the days of a balanced budget and a stronger economy.