Iowa’s Senators were two of only eight to vote against the deal passed by the senate that delays the deep spending cuts by two months.
Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley voted against the measure. The U.S. House will take up the bill next, and its future there is uncertain.
Here are statements from both senators on the issue:
Senator Tom Harkin released the following statement:
“Tonight, at the 11th hour, we find ourselves considering legislation to address a manufactured ‘fiscal cliff.’ Much of this could have been avoided had the U.S. House taken up the Senate-passed legislation to avert tax hikes on 98 percent of Americans.
“Instead, we find ourselves voting on an agreement that fails to address our number one priority – creating good, middle class jobs in Iowa and throughout the country. Further, it does not generate the revenue necessary for the country to meet its needs for everything from education for our children, to job training, to other critical supports for the middle class. The deal also makes tax benefits for high income earners permanent, while tax benefits designed to help those of modest means and the middle class are only extended for five years. In essence, this agreement locks in a tax structure that is grossly unfair to middle class Americans, one which provides permanent tax assistance to wealthy Americans, and only temporary relief to everyone else.
“Every dollar that wealthy taxpayers do not pay under this deal, we will eventually ask Americans of modest means to forgo in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. It is shortsighted to look at these issues in isolation from one another, especially when Congressional Republicans have been crystal clear that they intend to seek spending cuts to programs like Social Security just two months from now, using the debt limit as leverage.
“I am all for compromise, but a compromise that sets a new tax threshold for the wealthiest Americans while neglecting the very backbone of our country – the middle class – is a compromise I simply cannot support. This is the wrong direction for Iowa and our country, and at a time when our fragile economy cannot sustain further damage.”
Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following comment about his vote against the year-end tax plan.
“It’d be one thing to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, but that’s not what this deal does. It’s a fiscal farce to raise taxes and hurt economic growth only to fuel more government spending with record deficits and debt. People at the grass roots want Washington to spend less, not more. Failure to deal with spending lets them down. Spending restraint ought to be more than a wishful new year’s resolution with no way to be certain it’s kept.
“I support preventing tax increases on Americans by extending the tax cuts I authored in the Senate in the last decade. After the election, Republican leaders in Congress offered revenue increases as part of a balanced deal that would also take on Washington’s spending problem. Instead, the President focused on raising taxes and missed a significant opportunity to tackle spending. Washington has a spending problem, not a taxing problem, and this deal doesn’t do anything about the spending problem.
“This legislation contains a lot of things I support in addition to preventing a tax increase, including an extension of the farm bill, preventing tens of millions of families from being subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax that was never meant for them, repeal of the CLASS Act from the 2010 health care law, and the extension of the wind-energy production tax credit that I authored in August. Nevertheless, the fiasco was a major missed opportunity to take on Washington’s spending problem. The President focused on increasing taxes and failed to provide the presidential leadership needed to put Washington on a new path for fiscal discipline.”