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New Mexico Telegram » Delegation, Economy, Featured, Federal » Congress passes fiscal deal

Congress passes fiscal deal

The U.S. House and U.S. Senate voted for legislation related to the fiscal cliff. President Barack Obama indicated that he would sign the deal.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein had a good breakdown of what is in the deal. Included is that tax rates will go back to Clinton-era levels for individuals making $400,00 or more and for couples making $450,000 or more.

The sequester will be delayed for two months — setting up another battle for the new Congress.

Most of New Mexico’s delegation voted for the deal. Only Rep. Steve Pearce, also the lone Republican in the delegation, voted against the legislation.

Both U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman made the vote in an early-morning session past midnight on New Year’s Day.

Udall voted for the bill that he opposed because it was a “short-term” deal.

“We managed to make progress on middle-class tax cuts, wind energy tax incentives and unemployment insurance, but squandered an opportunity to implement a long-term vision to deal with the debt and deficit,” Udall said in a press statement.

“Instead, the bill we passed kicked the can down a very short road to delay deep federal budget cuts that are slated to begin today,” Udall’s statement continued. “That road ends in a couple months at another sequestration showdown just as the debt limit is reached and the budget resolution expires.”

“None of us are happy with every provision in the legislation, but it was imperative that we take action to prevent catastrophic and irreparable harm to the nation’s economy and our middle class,” Udall said.

“While there is still more work to do to reduce the deficit, this legislation asks millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, and prevents automatic spending cuts that would threaten vital funding for New Mexico’s national labs and harm the progress we’ve made in rebuilding our economy.”

U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is also U.S. Senator-elect Martin Heinrich, said in a statement (via the Albuquerque Journal) that he did not like all the provisions in the bill but said the bill was necessary “to take action to prevent catastrophic and irreparable harm to the nation’s economy and our middle class.

“While there is still more work to do to reduce the deficit, this legislation asks millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, and prevents automatic spending cuts that would threaten vital funding for New Mexico’s national labs and harm the progress we’ve made in rebuilding our economy,” Heinrich said.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan also voted for the bill despite some reservations. He noted that the funding was vital to the laboratories in the state, including Los Alamos National Laboratory which is in Lujan’s district.

“This plan is far from perfect and I do not support all of its elements, however, it represents a compromise that protects middle-class families in New Mexico from seeing their income taxes increase and it ensures that those struggling to find work during this difficult time will continue to have support,” Luján said in a statement.

“In addition, the extension of important tax credits will support hard-working families, help young adults afford college, and support a growing renewable energy industry,” he said. “Finally, while I would have preferred a long-term solution to the sequester’s arbitrary budget cuts that I have opposed from the beginning, this plan will prevent these cuts from taking place immediately – threatening the vitality of our national labs and our nation’s competitiveness.”

Steve Pearce issued a statement on why he opposed the bill.

“The House has already passed numerous bills to avert the Fiscal Cliff,” Pearce said. “We have given the President and the Senate the opportunity to take steps toward solving our debt crisis, while making sure that the damaging impact of sequestration and tax increases are avoided. Instead of acting in the same spirit, the senate and the president want to raise taxes and continue the federal spending spree.”

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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