Reaching An Agreement On The Fiscal Cliff

By: Shannon Houser
By: Shannon Houser

They have until the end of the year to reach an agreement on the debt and with holiday spending in full swing, many Americans could face huge debts of their own if lawmakers don't find a solution.

"The current tax cuts expire December 31st so whatever is going to happen is going to happen on January 1st," says Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson.

The clock is ticking on the Fiscal Cliff and many Americans are concerned a deal won't be reached.

"Half of the American people are saying that the Fiscal Cliff is affecting what they do in terms of what they do in planning and preparing for the holidays," Johnson adds.

Republicans like Congressman Johnson say spending is to blame. "We're not facing a Fiscal Cliff because Americans are taxed too little. The federal government is spending out of control. You've got fifty percent of Americas college graduates that are either unemployed or underemployed. We've got to address this issue of spending."

And democrats say the debt is because of rising healthcare costs.

'We have to take a serious look at how we reform our entitlements because healthcare costs continue to be the biggest driver of our deficit," said President Obama during a press conference.

But the focus is shifting from the problem to finding a solution and soon.

"To avert the Fiscal Cliff, we've got to have a combination of spending cuts and tax reform and reforms to those critical safety net programs like social security like medicare in a way that's going to preserve them. Protect them for current seniors and strengthen them for future generations, but we've gotta have all three," Johnson says.

It all comes down to the next month and when or even if lawmakers can reach an agreement together.

"Hopefully we will see this week how serious the other side is with our democrat colleagues. The American people expect us to govern. They expect us to put America first above party affiliation. I think we'll come to an agreement. I can't tell you when that will be. I think that we will eventually figure this out," Johnson says. He adds if an agreement isn't reached, Americans could start seeing the effects of a tax increase as soon as January 1st.

Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall released this statement saying; " I remain optimistic that the congress will continue to craft legislation to avert the dire consequences often associated with the so-called Fiscal Cliff. Certainly, I will fight against unfair tax increases and spending cuts that would harm our state's economy and West Virginia households and businesses."


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