The GOP passed H.R. 6684 that mandates draconian cuts to anti-poverty programs, and maintains current levels of defense spending.
We’ve been hearing about the looming fiscal cliff since President Obama was re-elected for a second term. The term “fiscal cliff” was first uttered by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, while testifying before a committee in Congress, to describe the ramifications of a Republican sponsored bill in the House of Representatives, that mandated cuts in government spending, and increased income taxes on all Americans.
During debt-ceiling negotiations in the summer of 2011, House Republicans concocted a political scheme that they gambled would hurt the President and the Democratic party. The GOP agreed to increase the debt ceiling if a “nuclear option” was attached to the bill. The Budget Control Act mandated $1 trillion in spending cuts, and formed a Congressional committee to come up with an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts by November of 2011. If the committee failed in their mission, mandatory cuts in spending would take place starting January 1, 2013.
The committee failed to agree on a plan, as Democrats in the House and Senate required an increase in revenue, to balance spending cuts. This single issue is why our economy is sitting on the precipice of the cliff. While our economy has slowly recovered, the Republican party has refused to budge on taxes. This intransigence could destroy the small gains that we’ve made.
House Speaker John Boehner had a “plan B” that he hoped would solve the problem in the short term. He was unable to get enough support from his own Republican caucus to pass his proposal.
The GOP managed to pass H.R. 6684 which they called the Spending Reduction Act. This bill cuts billions of dollars from anti-poverty programs, and eliminates the mandatory cuts in defense spending. This House bill eliminates the existing tax incentive for college education, does not extend unemployment insurance, and makes severe cuts to spending on education, food assistance, airline safety, infrastructure, and health care.
The people made a choice when they re-elected the president, but that choice has fallen on deaf ears. It will be important for “the people” - that means you and me - to make our voices heard in the coming week.
These actions in the House do NOT reduce our debt, it just slows down growth., and that’s the opposite of what we need to happen right now.
I hope that we all let our elected Representatives know that we expect them back at work, looking for common ground. And they could start by raising the taxes on the wealthiest of our neighbors. Anything less is unacceptable.
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