U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said the fiscal cliff deal that he voted against doesn’t touch on the spending problem that has put the United States in trillions of dollars in debt.
“It is a disappointment. This country has $16 trillion in debt. The problem we have is spending, but here was a bill that actually gave the government more money to spend with zero deficit or spending reform,” Gardner said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon from Washington, D.C. “It increases taxes on small businesses. It doesn’t provide a path toward solving the biggest problem our nation faces in terms of our financial crisis.”
The House passed the bill 257-167, with Democrats voting 172-16 in favor and Republicans voting 151-85 against. In the Senate, the bill passed by a whopping 89-8 vote with three Democrats — including Colorado’s Michael Bennet as one of the three — and five Republicans voting against it.
“I’m not going to criticize other Republicans for doing what they believe is in the best interest of their constituents,” Gardner said. “What I’m disappointed in is the president and his inability to recognize that we don’t have a tax problem. We have a spending problem. The bill increases spending. It adds to the deficit because it generates new spending, and it gives a government that can’t control itself even more money.”
The bill neutralizes middle class tax increases and spending cuts that take effect with the new year, and the legislation will raise tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.
“The president and the Democrat majority in the Senate campaigned on raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires,” Gardner said. “They now have their taxes. Taxes are going up on millionaires and billionaires. So the bottom line is we must focus on spending and reducing the debt and deficit this nation faces. Overall, this kicks the can down the road. It delays spending cuts, and actually increases the money available to government to spend without any control. I hope, though, that we can spend the next two years passing legislation like a balanced budget amendment, and making sure we have pro-growth tax policies in place to actually grow our economy.”
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., voted in favor of the fiscal cliff deal. He said in a news release that the one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy is a good signal for manufacturers in Colorado to create jobs.
Gardner said he supported the extension of the Production Tax Credit, but with the hope that it would be paid for.
“That was my position to extend it, ramp it down and pay for it,” Gardner said. “This one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit is going to cost $12 billion over 10 years.”
Bennet said in a news release that the bill does not put in place a real process to reduce the debt down the road, although he supported extending unemployment insurance, the wind Production Tax Credit and tax cuts for most Americans.