By DANIEL SUDDEATH
U.S. Rep. Todd Young expressed disappointment in the “fiscal cliff” measure approved by Congress late Tuesday that staved off tax increases for many Americans.
Young, R-Ind., voted against the House version of the legislation that will raise tax rates on individuals earning $400,000 and couples garnering $450,000 in income annually.
President Barack Obama had initially called for higher levies on families making $250,000 and individuals earning $200,000 a year.
Still, Young said the Senate’s amended version of the legislation that passed the House 257-167 fails to include significant fiscal restraint while extending 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 stated in a release Wednesday.
Young — who is beginning his second term in Congress representing Indiana’s 9th District which includes Floyd and Clark counties — voted for House bills to extend all Bush-era tax rates last year. He said that unlike the 112th version, hopefully the 113th Congress can bring spending in line with revenue.
“Despite the fact that this tax relief measure passed, time is running out for our nation to rein-in reckless federal spending and reform our inefficient and unfair tax code,” Young said. “In coming weeks, I will push for bipartisan legislation and presidential initiative to finally get serious about addressing the spending that is driving our deficit and debt.”
Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., voted in favor of the Senate version of the bill that passed 89 to 8. However he called the measure “the lesser of two evils.”
“Careening from crisis to crisis, addressing the fiscal cliff in the 11th hour is no way to govern,” Coats stated in a release Wednesday. “Once again, Washington missed an opportunity to present a real, long-term deficit reduction plan that would address our fiscal crisis.”
However, allowing the country “to slip off the fiscal cliff and raise taxes on every American is unacceptable,” he continued.
He said not acting would have resulted in an average tax increase of $4,000 on Hoosier families and $2,800 on individuals a year.
“By holding 99 percent of Americans hostage, the president was able to raise taxes on the top 1 percent, but now there is no excuse for avoiding the real fiscal cliff — the out-of-control spending and borrowing,” Coats said.
Outgoing Republican Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar also voted for the legislation. The ballot among Kentucky Republican Senators was split, as Rand Paul voted against the measure while Mitch McConnell supported it.
Lugar’s replacement in the Senate, Democrat Rep. Joe Donnelly, voted in favor of the fiscal cliff legislation. In one of his last actions as a member of the House, Republican and Indiana Gov.-elect Mike Pence voted against the measure.
Like other Republicans, Coats said the U.S. Treasury will hit its debt ceiling in the coming weeks, and predicted a likely request to increase borrowing will spark another debate on spending.
“Reforming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to make them solvent, overhauling our complex tax code and reducing government spending is the only way to solve our fiscal crisis and ensure future generations will inherit a stronger and more prosperous country,” Coats said.
In a statement Tuesday, Obama said he’s worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut spending by more than $1 trillion over the last year. He added the fiscal cliff agreement begins to make millionaires and billionaires “pay their fair share for the first time in 20 years.”
“There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it,” Obama said. “But [Tuesday’s] agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans.”
On the heels of the deal, all major U.S. Stock indexes grew by at least 2 percent in early trading Wednesday according to The Associated Press.
It was pretty much the same story for other major stock markets in the world including Britain, France and Germany.
“Most people think that no deal would have been worse than a bad deal,” Mark Lehmann, president of JMP Securities in San Francisco, told the AP.