FISCAL CLIFF VOTE: How our congressmen voted on new tax deal

While the tax package Congress passed New Year's Day is expected to protect 99% of us from an income tax increase, most of us will still end up paying more federal taxes in 2013. That's because the legislation did nothing to prevent a temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll tax from expiring. In 2012, that 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax was worth about $1,000 to a worker making $50,000 a year.

The House vote was 257-to-167. Members of Congress from our area were split on the new tax deal.

Congressman and U.S. Senate-elect Joe Donnelly (D-Granger) voted 'yes' to the package but calls it "far from perfect."

"I voted for the bipartisan, Senate-passed compromise because it preserves low tax rates for 98% of families and 97% of small businesses. It is far from perfect, as I would have preferred to keep low rates for everyone for one year while our economy continues to recover, but the American people deserve a Congress that is willing to compromise to get things done.

Too many in Washington have allowed their own political interests to trump their ultimate responsibility to work together to do what is best for our country. Moving forward, I strongly believe that we need to set politics aside and work together to reduce spending as we further put our fiscal house in order."


Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) issued the following statement after voting for the package:

“Last night, the House passed a plan to permanently extend tax relief for Southwest Michigan families and small businesses and to stop our government from going over the ‘fiscal cliff.’ This plan is not the one I would have written, but I would not sit idly by and watch taxes go up on every American, impacting the average Southwest Michigan family to the tune of thousands of dollars.

The plan permanently locks into place current tax rates for middle class families as our economy continues to struggle. It holds down the estate tax for our farmers and small business owners. It permanently fixes the alternative minimum tax (AMT). It provides assurance to our agriculture community by extending the existing farm bill for one year as we work toward a new long-term bill. Finally, it stops the President from giving members of Congress a pay increase as he proposed last week.

This deal is an important first step to protect middle class families and small businesses from higher taxes. But our work will not be complete until we tackle the driver of our debt – spending. Folks are looking for bipartisan solutions and concrete action to right the ship on spending. Every single day, families in Michigan and across America must make tough decisions to balance their checkbooks, pay the bills, and make ends meet, and they expect the same out of their government.  We must continue working toward a more sound fiscal future to ensure the next generation has the same opportunities that we do today.”

Congressman Marlin Stutzman voted 'no' to the deal and offered his position in a Facebook post.

A tax hike without spending cuts is not a serious attempt to solve our country's debt crisis. We face a debt crisis because Congress and President Obama have refused to make hard choices and this latest 'deal' is just another example. It's time for Washington to get serious and reform our nation's entitlements and tax structure, not just simply raise taxes that will hurt small business owners and their employees.

Congressman and soon-to-be new Indiana governor Mike Pence issued the following statement after he voted 'no':

"Our national government is facing a fiscal crisis of historic proportions. To restore our fiscal solvency, we must be willing to make hard choices through fiscal discipline and common sense reforms.

"I am opposed to the Senate legislation dealing with the so-called 'fiscal cliff,' because it fails to make needed spending cuts while increasing taxes on small business owners.

"Washington, D.C. does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. I cannot support more taxes, more spending and one more illusory promise of spending reforms in the future.

"The American people deserve better. As I move on to my new responsibilities in Indiana, I will continue to stand for fiscal responsibility and pro-growth tax reform for our state and for our nation."