Congress reaches agreement to avoid fiscal cliffcraig

White House touts plan as victory for middle class

Quotable...

“Washington did not tax its way to a $16.3 trillion debt, it spent its way there,” Tipton said in a statement following the House vote. “The Senate package does nothing to address the spending crisis in this country that has resulted in four straight years of trillion dollar deficits and a $16.3 trillion debt.”

Third Congressional District of Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, about a deal reached in Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Congressional legislators in Washington, D.C. at almost zero hour reached a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

The White House is touting the deal as a significant victory for the country’s middle class.

“Leaders from both parties in the Senate came together to reach an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support today (Tuesday) that protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle class tax hike,” said President Barack Obama in a statement. “While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country.”

According to the deal, taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans will be restored to the 39.6 percent rate as was the case in the 1990s. The tax rate applies to singles making more than $400,000 and married couples making more than $450,000 a year.

In addition, the deal reduces tax benefits on singles making more than $250,000 and married couples making more than $300,000 a year.

Though the wealthiest Americans will begin to pay more under the agreement, the deal permanently extends the middle class tax cuts and also extends tax credits for working families, according to a White House fact sheet.

The tax rate changes are estimated to raise $620 billion in revenue during the next 10 years, a White House news release states.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., voted for the deal and applauded its passage in the U.S. Senate because the measure also extends the Farm Bill through 2013, as well as renewable energy initiatives, including the wind Production Tax Credit.

“Extending the wind Production Tax Credit is a long-overdue dose of certainty for manufacturers who employ more than 5,000 Coloradans and 60,000 workers across America,” Udall said in a news release. “Although this deal is not perfect, I am glad my colleagues have acknowledged what I have spoken about regularly on the Senate floor — Wind energy creates jobs and benefits every American.”

But not everyone in Washington is happy about the last minute deal.

Third Congressional District of Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, voted against the deal when it was presented in the U.S. House of Representatives, saying the measure raises taxes on American families and businesses, increases the size of government, and does not include any reforms to address the $16.3 trillion debt.

Tipton cited a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which shows the deal may increase tax revenues by $620 billion, but cuts only $15 billion in spending.

“Washington did not tax its way to a $16.3 trillion debt, it spent its way there,” Tipton said in a statement following the House vote. “The Senate package does nothing to address the spending crisis in this country that has resulted in four straight years of trillion dollar deficits and a $16.3 trillion debt.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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