On the first day of 2013, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Senate's so-called deal to avert the "fiscal cliff'. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted the Senate's deal will add nearly $4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Ultimately I could not vote to support the Senate fiscal cliff plan because it did not do anything to address our nation's spending problem. Permanent spending controls are needed to ensure this Congress, and all future Congresses, do not spend our children and grandchildren into oblivion.
The Senate's deal to avert the "fiscal cliff' will make it harder to grow the economy and create jobs. Small business owners and family farmers, not just the wealthiest of Americans, will now have to decide how to pay an increased tax burden. Chances are they will be forced to let employees go, cut hours and benefits, and postpone hiring new workers. Not to mention this deal does nothing to address the biggest burden facing America's economic growth, our mounting national debt.
Included in the fiscal cliff legislation was a short-term extension of farm policy. Congress cannot expect farm families to continue producing the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply on the planet without the certainty provided under a long-term Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee passed a fiscally sound, bipartisan five-year Farm Bill in June that would provide producers with the ability to plan well into the future. The short-term policy extension included in the fiscal cliff deal will hurt producers in Arkansas and around the country.
After weeks of uncertainty and political games, many people will be relieved that their taxes won't go up. However, in the months ahead workers will be hurt when employers pass on to them one of the largest tax increases in the last two decades. This deal just kicks the can further down the road by postponing dealing with our debt crisis. Worst of all, this deal adds to our national debt at a time when we should be focused on passing permanent spending controls.
As the House and Senate now begin the task of looking for ways to pay down our debt, I will continue calling on my colleagues to end the failed fiscal policies that have left our nation with a $17 trillion national debt. The only way we can truly avoid going over the real fiscal cliff is by making fundamental and permanent reforms to end Washington's spending addiction.