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Public Statements

The Fiscal Cliff

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. NELSON of Florida. I want to speak to the issue that is beginning to considerably irritate the American people, and that is they cannot believe that in Washington the two parties cannot get together to come to an agreement on avoiding the fiscal cliff. It is as if some are in denial that there was an election and the President won reelection, and that a whole bunch of us won reelection to the Senate and to the House. It is as if the ideological rigidity is still as rigid and doctrinaire and that the lessons people were telling us about bipartisanship, that they demand bipartisanship--it is as if the parties and their leaders did not understand that is what the American people were demanding.

And here as the drumbeat grows louder, we approach December 31 and falling off the fiscal cliff. There is an easy fix, whatever your ideology and your approach. It can be hammered out next year when we are doing major things such as a rewrite of the IRS Tax Code, and all that that can portend in producing revenue, by making the Code more streamlined and in the process get rid of a lot of the underbrush and loopholes, and utilize that revenue to lower rates. But that is for another day after long deliberation on reforming an issue that has gotten so complicated it is out of control, and that is the Tax Code. You cannot do that in the next few days. That is what needs to be done in the committee process of the Congress.

What easily can be done is recognize that the President won, produce revenue with the upper 2 percent paying a little more, and eliminate the sequestration, which is $1 trillion of cuts over the next 10 years that were never intended to go into effect after the original $1 trillion which a year-and-a-half ago went into effect. This sequestration was intended to be the meat cleaver hanging over the heads of the supercommittee to get them to come to a bipartisan agreement.

Of course, a year-and-a-quarter ago, they deadlocked six to six and thus that is why we are facing this sequestration--$ 1/2 trillion of cuts in defense, $ 1/2 trillion of cuts in nondefense discretionary spending. Most everybody thinks they should not go into effect. So let us, for right now, before December 31, help eliminate the sequestration. Let's reintroduce all of the tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people, and then let's prepare, in a deliberative way, to reform the Tax Code and go about the process of streamlining and cutting spending as the new Congress unfolds. That is what I wanted to share.

I yield the floor.


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