Senator Jay Rockefeller today issued the following statement after he voted for a deficit deal.
"Tonight the Senate did the right thing -- preventing a tax increase on the middle class; requiring the very wealthy to start paying their fair share; providing financial certainty for individuals, families, and businesses; and giving the nation a bipartisan compromise solution that moves us past the fiscal cliff. Tomorrow, House Republicans need to step up to the plate and join us in supporting middle class and working families in West Virginia and across America. House Republicans should allow a straight up or down vote on the bipartisan Senate deal, with no ducking and no gimmicks, and make clear to the American people whose side they're on.
"This deal is by no means perfect, but it fully protects middle class tax cuts, reinstates Clinton-era tax rates for the very wealthy, and extends several tax credits that are crucial to low-income families throughout West Virginia. Through these strong actions, we can begin to close the historic income divide that has plagued our nation for decades. The deal also continues unemployment help for those who are out of work and searching for jobs, and, in the short-term, it protects Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Throughout this process, I have fought to make sure these fundamental supports are not ripped out from under struggling families, and it's great news that we have been able to hold steady on those core programs for so many West Virginians.
"I still think there is more we can and should ask of wealthy Americans to help keep our country strong for everyone. I'm also very concerned about ongoing Republican efforts to drastically slash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as part of a long-term deficit reduction strategy. I'll keep fighting against these and other proposals to disproportionately reduce our deficit on the backs of seniors, individuals with disabilities, and families struggling to make ends meet. But this fiscal package is a victory for West Virginia and for working men and women everywhere, so I will give it my full support and again urge House Republicans to end the chaos and help move us forward.
"The American people are sick and tired of seeing their elected officials bicker over petty politics while they are working hard every day to feed their families and keep or find jobs. Our economy will not go into a freefall this week because the "fiscal cliff" is in fact more of a fiscal slope -- the changes are gradual -- but the nation needs stability and the opportunity is before us now to fix this. The House must move swiftly to pass this legislation, and I deeply hope that Congress can work together better going forward."