Officials Respond to Fiscal Cliff Decision

"This is not the ‘big fix’ I want, but it’s the best we can do at this late hour. First thing tomorrow, though, I will start working again on making this a better deal for the people of West Virginia and this great country. The fact is, this deal is the flawed product of a broken process that puts politics ahead of people. And it sets us up for more dangerous political gamesmanship in the months ahead. But the bottom line is this last-minute deal guarantees that the paychecks of middle class Americans won’t take a big hit from higher taxes on New Year’s Day, and it protects more than 99 percent of all West Virginians.

And make no mistake – hard-working American taxpayers shouldn’t bring home less pay from their jobs just because Congress didn’t do its job. However, the tough votes are still in front of us if we’re going to get our budget under control and put our fiscal house back in order. I am determined to not put our country further in debt, and I will not vote for any future proposals that do that without meaningful deficit reduction.

Just as importantly, we also need to fix our politics so we don’t find ourselves in such a ridiculous and embarrassing situation again. We just need to use some common sense, instead of this Washington nonsense."

- WV Senator, Joe Manchin

"Tonight the Senate did the right thing – preventing a tax increase on the middle class; requiring the very wealthy to start paying their fair share; providing financial certainty for individuals, families, and businesses; and giving the nation a bipartisan compromise solution that moves us past the fiscal cliff. Tomorrow, House Republicans need to step up to the plate and join us in supporting middle class and working families in West Virginia and across America. House Republicans should allow a straight up or down vote on the bipartisan Senate deal, with no ducking and no gimmicks, and make clear to the American people whose side they’re on.

This deal is by no means perfect, but it fully protects middle class tax cuts, reinstates Clinton-era tax rates for the very wealthy, and extends several tax credits that are crucial to low-income families throughout West Virginia. Through these strong actions, we can begin to close the historic income divide that has plagued our nation for decades. The deal also continues unemployment help for those who are out of work and searching for jobs, and, in the short-term, it protects Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Throughout this process, I have fought to make sure these fundamental supports are not ripped out from under struggling families, and it’s great news that we have been able to hold steady on those core programs for so many West Virginians.

I still think there is more we can and should ask of wealthy Americans to help keep our country strong for everyone. I’m also very concerned about ongoing Republican efforts to drastically slash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as part of a long-term deficit reduction strategy. I’ll keep fighting against these and other proposals to disproportionately reduce our deficit on the backs of seniors, individuals with disabilities, and families struggling to make ends meet. But this fiscal package is a victory for West Virginia and for working men and women everywhere, so I will give it my full support and again urge House Republicans to end the chaos and help move us forward.

The American people are sick and tired of seeing their elected officials bicker over petty politics while they are working hard every day to feed their families and keep or find jobs. Our economy will not go into a freefall this week because the “fiscal cliff” is in fact more of a fiscal slope – the changes are gradual – but the nation needs stability and the opportunity is before us now to fix this. The House must move swiftly to pass this legislation, and I deeply hope that Congress can work together better going forward."

- WV Senator, Jay Rockefeller

"Throughout the process, I have called for a balanced approach to addressing our nation’s out-of-control spending and record deficit. There is nothing balanced about the bill passed by the Senate early this morning. The last-minute, haphazard process led to an unbalanced bill that includes no substantial reductions in spending and actually adds $3.9 trillion to our deficit.

If Congress is going to ask more from taxpayers, it must also ask more from Washington in the form of belt tightening across the federal government. Failing to enact meaningful reforms and spending cuts would truly be unforgivable to future generations.

I have voted consistently to preserve lower tax rates for all Americans. In July, I voted to prevent a tax increase for any taxpayer and also voted for the 2001 and 2003 bills that established the tax rates that expired today. I also supported meaningful tax reform to make the code simpler and fairer. In contrast, the Senate bill includes special interest tax provisions, including $248 million in tax loopholes for movie producers and $222 million for rum producers.

Lastly, West Virginians are fed up with the constant bickering in Washington and the inability to get things done. The last-minute deals and constant back-and-forth create great uncertainty for families, for small businesses and for the global economy. It has to stop. As someone who believes in cooperation over partisanship, I will continue to listen to any and all ideas about how to get our economy back on track, people back to work and to reform our entitlement programs for future generations."

- WV Congresswoman, Shelley Moore Capito

"With taxes scheduled to increase on working, middle-class families, Congress needed to do its job and pass legislation. It would have been irresponsible to vote to go over the cliff.

We should be making incremental progress toward cutting the deficit while protecting priorities like job creation. We cannot wait indefinitely for an elusive grand bargain that addresses everything at once. Certainly, we should eliminate wasteful spending where we can, and I have voted for some painful spending cuts, including last year’s Budget Control Act that cut spending by $1 trillion. But we also must look at costly tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that are simply unaffordable and serve limited benefit for working-class families and small businesses.

I believe and have said repeatedly that the surest way to bring the budget into balance is by growing the economy. We must continue to invest in our Nation’s physical infrastructure – our transportation and water systems – as well as our labor force by expanding access to workforce development training and affordable education and health care. In West Virginia, we know very well how important safer roads, a skilled labor force, and modern water systems are to attracting and growing businesses."

- WV Congressman, Nick Rahall

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