JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local representatives in Congress were split when they voted on the fiscal cliff.
Democrat Corrine Brown voted yes. Republican Ander Crenshaw voted yes. And Republicans Cliff Stearns and John Mica voted no.
President Obama praised the compromise, but he said he doesn't want a repeat of the bickering in future negotiations.
"Hopefully, in the new year, we'll focus on seeing if we can put a package like this together with a little bit less drama, a little less brinkmanship, not scare the heck out of folks quite as much."
The vote prevents a middle class tax hike. Here's how it breaks down. Your income taxes will be going up only if you make $400,000 per year, or if your family makes more than $450,000 per year. The new measure also extends long-term jobless benefits for one year.
President Obama said, "We can come together as Democrats and Republicans to cut spending and raise revenue in a way that reduces our deficit, protects our middle class, provides ladders into the middle class for everybody who is willing to work hard."
Action News reached out to all our local Congress members. All but John Mica responded.
Corrine Brown issued the following statement: "Although I do not think the Senate measure passed early this morning is a perfect bill, it is a good start. Passed on a bipartisan basis on a 89-8 vote, the agreement in the Senate between Senate Republicans, Democrats and the White House contains many good provisions. One that really stands out is the dropped demands by Senate Republicans to make cuts to Social Security in exchange for a continuation of unemployment insurance benefits.
Additionally, other provisions that greatly benefit my constituents include items such as the extension of unemployment insurance until the end of 2013, which assists 2 million struggling American families nationwide; as well as a five-year expansion of tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); the Child Tax Credit and the college tax credit. I am also pleased to see that there was an extension of the farm bill through the end of the fiscal year, which averts a sharp rise in milk prices (some economists estimated prices would rise to $7-8 per gallon). Moreover, an agreement to avoid cuts in payments to Medicare doctors protects not only physicians but the patients who depend on their services.
During the 2012 elections the American people spoke, and I think it is clear that they do not support a continuation of Republicans’ reverse Robin Hood economic policies -- robbing from seniors, students, and the elderly, and even jeopardizing our military and our veterans -- just to maintain tax breaks for the upper 2% of income earners. We need to move forward and prevent taxes on 98% of Americans from dramatically rising merely because of the intransigence of a number of tea party Republicans who apparently control the House of Representatives!"
Ander Crenshaw issued this statement: "Like many of my colleagues, I had hoped to vote on a more balanced bill that cut big-government spending. While not a perfect solution, this legislation makes middle-class tax cuts permanent and protects 98 percent of Americans and small businesses from the biggest tax hike in history. Marriage penalty relief, protection for estates, expanded child-tax credits, a permanent adjustment to the Alternative Minimum Tax, and ensurance that doctors won’t have to incur a 27percent cut in Medicare reimbursements are among the achievements.
Additionally this bill takes important steps to protecting our military by delaying severe cuts that would result from sequestration. My bottom line and defense philosophy: Congress must have an unwavering commitment to national security. I won’t allow short-sighted budget decisions to turn back a decade’s worth of work rebuilding our nation’s military in Florida and around the globe.
There’s a tremendous amount of work before Congress in the months ahead, and I am dedicated to keeping taxes low and our defense strong. The way forward must include cuts to big government spending, entitlement reform, and comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform, which broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues and reduces the deficit."
And Congressman Cliff Stearns issued this statement: "Our nation is following the same path as Greece and other failing nations that have not addressed their debt crises. Having actually voted for a budget plan that led to budget surpluses for the first time in decades, I see that the key is promoting economic growth while restraining federal spending. The bill voted on last night will make out situation worse by adding $4 trillion to our $16.4 trillion national debt. It also extends wasteful tax credits for special interests such as movie production in Hollywood and the tax credit for producing expensive and unreliable wind energy. Congressional leaders and the president should focus on enacting pro-growth economic policies, sensible reform of entitlement programs, and holding down the growth in federal expenditures."