Both of Indiana senators but only two of the state’s nine House members voted for legislation meant to help the country avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
Lesley Weidenbener of TheStatehouseFile.com reports:
By Lesley Weidenbener
INDIANAPOLIS – Only two Indiana members of the U.S. House – both Democrats – voted for an agreement late Tuesday that raises taxes on wealthier Americans and is meant to avert a so-called fiscal cliff that would have meant dramatic spending cuts and more expansive tax hikes.
Rep. Andre Carson speaks at his victory speech at the Democratic Party victory party. Photo by Tim Grimes, TheStatehouseFile.com
Reps. Andre Carson, D-7th District, and Joe Donnelly, D-2nd District, voted for the bill.
Donnelly – who will be sworn in as one of the state’s two senators this week – said he voted for the legislation because “it preserves low tax rates for 98 percent of families and 97 percent 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,” Donnelly said.
The House passed the bill 257-167 less than 24 hours after the Senate passed it easily, with Republican Sens. Richard Lugar and Dan Coats of Indiana voting yes. It now goes to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
Reps. Pete Visclosky, D-1st; Larry Bucshon, R-8th District; Mike Pence, R-6th; Todd Rokita, R-4th; Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd; and Todd Young, R-9th District, voted no.
Rep. Dan Burton, R-5th, did not vote.
U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-9th District, said he voted against so-called fiscal cliff legislation on Tuesday because it doesn’t address the nation’s spending and debt problems. TheStatehouseFile.com file photo.
Young said the legislation “not only fails to include significant spending restraint, but instead extends stimulus spending.”
“ It does very little to restore a degree of certainty to our economy, and the continued refusal to seriously address our largest and most unsustainable programs of government could likely result in further credit rating downgrades, interest rate increases, business failures, and job losses,” Young said.
And Bucshon said he voted no because the plan “has $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts.”
“It is not balanced in any way and will not improve our economy or reduce the deficit,” he said.
The legislation means that the vast majority of Americans won’t face tax hikes that were set to take effect this month. It also extends benefits to unemployed workers and delays automatic spending cuts set for the defense department.
Carson said he voted yes because the bill “protects the middle class and our economic recovery.”
“It staves off a descent back into recession,” Carson said. But he said the agreement “does not absolve Congress from its dysfunction or the partisan bickering that brought us to this crisis.”
And the legislation in fact sets up a new fight over spending and debt issues in the coming weeks. Congress is facing a February vote on whether to extend the federal debt ceiling, which allows the government to borrow money to pay its bills.
Young said it’s no secret that Republicans will be working “to get significant spending concessions or reforms on Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security in order to make those programs sustainable as we approach the debt limit and continuing resolution votes.”
Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said he appreciated the last-minute compromise but said the legislation is “inadequate” and “potentially counter-productive.”
“Despite tax increases, long-term spending remains unsustainable and a threat to our economic and national security,” Brinegar said in a statement. “We must rigorously reform entitlement and social welfare programs and look for real, lasting savings across all federal activities. We can no longer borrow and spend as if there were no consequences, because the day of reckoning fast approaches.”
Lesley Weidenbener is managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.