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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: fiscal cliff

Labrador calls fiscal cliff bill ‘worse than no deal at all,’ rest of delegation backs it

Three-fourths of Idaho’s congressional delegation has voted in favor of the last-minute compromise bill to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” with just 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voting no. Labrador said, “This was a difficult vote, but as far as I am concerned the Biden-McConnell deal is worse than no deal at all.” You can read his full statement here.

2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson joined the majority in supporting the bill. “While I remain a strong proponent of a more comprehensive approach to solving our nation’s long-term fiscal crisis, this bill is a critical piece of legislation that lowers taxes for nearly every taxpayer,” Simpson said. “The unfortunate reality is that under current law every taxpayer was hit today with a tax increase. The bill we passed blocks those tax increases for nearly all Americans.” You can read his full statement here.

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted in favor of the measure; they issued this joint statement: “The compromise that we supported protects 99 percent of all Idahoans from a tax increase and also protects the vast majority of our farm families from a permanent tax increase. This is a victory for working Idahoans, but we must now be very aggressive in finding appropriate spending reductions.”

The bill passed the Senate on an 89-8 vote just after 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, while it passed the House 257-167 around 11 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Click below for a full report from the AP in Washington, D.C.

Casey on fiscal cliff fight: ‘We keep focusing on the wrong thing’

At the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference this morning, Curtis DuBay of the Heritage Foundation opened with a pitch for his organization's views on the fiscal cliff and national spending policies, saying spending is the problem and taxes shouldn't be raised. He was followed by Greg Casey, president and CEO of BIPAC, the Business Industry Political Action Committee, who told the crowd of several hundred lawmakers, local and state officials, lobbyists and more, “The chance of the Heritage tax plan passing is … Zero.” He added, “I love youthful enthusiasm.”

Said Casey, “This is a moving target. We are deeper in the muck than we were last year, with even less clarity.” He said, “We're most certainly going to have another credit rating downgrade if we don't come up with a realistic solution.”

Casey, a former U.S. Senate sergeant-arms and former chief of staff to then-U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, said,  “We got where we are because politics brought us here, and we will either get out or we will go over depending on where politics takes us from here. And in politics there is always one outcome. … The losers execute the scapegoats … and the victors define the mandates, regardless of whether those mandates are based in fact. And victor-defined mandates drive the deliberations.”

President Obama was the victor in the election, Casey said. “He won. Elections have consequences.” To close the deficit, Casey said, “We have to have increased revenues and we have to have cut spending. … We keep focusing on the wrong thing,” in GOP resistance to increases in tax rates.

“This fixation that we have on the tax rate is precisely what the president wants and needs in order to achieve his objectives,” Casey said. “He wants to raise taxes on the rich.” That's a political issue, Casey said. “The more the GOP are tagged with defending the rich, the more ground they lose in trying to figure out how to reform taxes.” He said Idaho's congressional representatives signed Grover Norquist's no-tax-increases pledge before the Bush tax cuts and other cuts. He drew laughter when he asked if it would violate the pledge for members of Congress to vote for the tax rates in effect when they signed it.

“At the end of the day, the issue is revenues vs. expenditures,” Casey said. “It's not tax rates vs. expenditures - it's revenues.” He said, “If our path is unaltered, the fiscal cliff becomes an off-ramp right smack into the fiscal abyss.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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