Late on the evening of Jan. 1, the U.S House of Representatives followed the Senate in passing a bill to avert the “fiscal cliff” – a series of steep tax hikes and spending cuts that went in to effect at midnight the same day. If left in place, experts worried that the national economy could fall in to recession.
The bill represented an effort to compromise between Republican and Democratic leaders. However some representatives on both sides of the aisle remained opposed. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, who represents the 10th District, which includes most of Asheville, voted against the measure. He joined 150 other Republicans and 16 Democrats in the House who voted against it. Voting in favor were 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans, including GOP Speaker of House John A. Boehner of Ohio. In what’s likely to be his last vote as a congressman, outgoing 11th District Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler voted in support.
One of the most controversial aspects of the deal will allow income taxes to rise for the highest earning Americans. It will be the first time income taxes will rise on anyone in the country in two decades, according to the New York Times. President Barack Obama advocated for similar changes throughout his successful campaign for reelection and planned to sign the bill in to law.
Here’s the statement released by McHenry immediately after the vote:
McHenry Disappointed in Fiscal Cliff Tax Hikes
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Patrick McHenry issued the following remarks regarding passage of the fiscal cliff deal reached by President Obama and leaders in Congress:
“I’m disappointed with the inability of leaders in Washington to come together and protect Americans from tax hikes,” said Congressman McHenry. “The real problem is that the federal government spends too much money. That’s why conservatives in the House passed legislation to stop these tax hikes and replace sequestration with targeted spending cuts. Unfortunately, we’ll continue to see dangerously high deficits until President Obama and Harry Reid get serious about our government spending more money than we take in.”
Earlier this year, the National Federation of Independent Business released a study by accounting firm Ernst & Young. The study demonstrated that tax rate increases favored by President Obama would result in 700,000 lost jobs across the country and reduced wages for other workers of 1.8 percent.
“Throughout this debate, the President repeatedly stated his hope for a balanced deal,” continued Congressman McHenry. “However, the legislation passed tonight actually increases both taxes and spending. That is simply unacceptable and I couldn’t vote for such a measure.”