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Moran Votes No on Fiscal Cliff Legislation

by Katie Pyzyk — January 2, 2013 at 9:50 am 3,555 74 Comments

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)Late Tuesday night, Congress approved legislation to end the battle over avoiding the “fiscal cliff.” However, Rep. Jim Moran (D) was not one of the members giving the measure his stamp of approval.

The House voted (257 to 167) to send the plan to President Obama, less than 24 hours after the Senate passed it. But Moran spoke on the House floor last night in opposition of the legislation, contending it doesn’t create a permanent solution.

“We set up three more fiscal cliffs. We’re going to have to deal with the debt ceiling, we’re going to have to deal with the continuing resolution expiration and we’re going to have to deal with the sequester,” Moran said on the House floor. “We’re going to look back on this night and regret it, notwithstanding the fact that 95 percent of us apparently will vote for it.”

Moran released the following explanation in a statement:

Throughout negotiations aimed at staving off the economic damage of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ I have been hoping to cast a vote for a balanced deal which addressed both long run fiscal issues and the artificial short term crisis created by the Budget Control Act.

Unfortunately the bill before us today is wholly inadequate. It leaves our country with three more ‘fiscal cliffs’ to negotiate over the next three months. There’s no clarity as to how we preserve the full faith and credit of the U.S. by raising the statutory debt limit, the economically devastating sequester is delayed two months but remains in full effect, and there’s no direction as to how we will fund the government for the remainder of the year when the continuing resolution runs out in March. Each of these deadlines represents a major political battle in which nearly 40 percent of Northern Virginia’s economy in terms of federal contracts and federal employees will be on the chopping block. Our leverage to strike a balanced deal will only be weaker in those coming battles following passage of this bill.

Furthermore, I question the wisdom of permanently locking in revenue levels which are far too low. This includes an estate tax structure which provides a massive tax cut for a small minority of the richest Americans at the cost $369 billion dollars, in exchange for only a temporary extension of important programs that help low and middle class Americans.

“I am deeply concerned by the long term consequences of this hastily crafted agreement, both in terms of our ability to invest in our priorities, such as educating and training future generations, and in terms of the way we govern this country. For these reasons, I cannot in good conscience support this legislation.

  • Enough Already

    Everyone has to live within their means and balance their own household budgets, why can’t our government do the same. Enough is enough, Bunch of idiots, should be all fired.

    • Chris Slatt

      That would totally be true if everybody’s household had its own global currency, could borrow billions of dollars very cheaply, and spent enough money to have significant economic effects all on its own.

      Turns out though, when your budget gets that big there are a couple of additional things to think about above and beyond your typical household budget that mean carrying no debt might not be the optimal economic strategy.

      • JohnB

        +1

      • KalashniKEV

        Wrong. If you’re spending more than you take in, you have a problem.

        It doesn’t matter if it’s a kid’s piggy bank, a household, a corporation, or a government.

        • Ralph

          Not if you are a growing economy. The US’ debt is overly high, that is true, but a non-deficit economy is not the most efficient.

        • ArlWhat

          And this is why you can’t win elections.

          • KalashniKEV

            I haven’t ran… yet. :)

          • Scott

            Actually, he can’t win because a majority of Americans are addicted to spending and seem not to care about the incredible financial burden our children and grandchildren are going to inherit.

            Every major left-wing entitlement program is forecast to go bust in the near- to intermediate future. But hey, keep throwing money at the problem, it’s all the “rich people’s” fault!

          • KalashniKEV

            @Scott- What are you… some Fat Cat Capitalist in a top hat?? You probably typed that post on a MacBook Air!

            Slackers of the world unite! We want our free entitlements!

          • ArlWhat

            Except “the rich” don’t have a problem, so no fault, right? They’ve been receiving the benefits of wealth redistribution since the mid 90s.

        • drax

          Wrong, Kev.

          That’s only true in the long run. Year to year, it can make great economic and fiscal sense to run a deficit – as long as you run surpluses in other years to cover it. Sometimes running a deficit helps stimulate the economy and produce new tax revenue to get those surpluses later. So it’s not as simple as balancing the budget, because the government has huge impacts on the economy. And of course, most people take on debt too. Nothing wrong with debt as long as it is done responsibly. The problem isn’t deficits, it’s deficits that are too big, and surpluses that have been sqaundered. We might be in much better shape if Bush hadn’t stolen to Clinton surpluses with tax cuts.

          • KalashniKEV

            Drax- there’s never going to be another surplus ever again in the history of the United States government. The time to get right is Right Now.

          • Rory

            In that case, we should have just gone over the cliff. That would have instantly made our deficits much more manageable, although it would have caused a recession of some sort or another.

          • KalashniKEV

            We needed to go off the cliff.

            …but don’t worry- there will be another one soon!

          • Carol_R

            There hasn’t been a surplus in my lifetime. And the debt just keeps going up and up. They haven’t paid down ANY of it.

          • drax

            Carol,

            Unless you are ten years old, there was indeed a surplus in your lifetime.

            We had surpluses until Bush wiped them out with his tax cuts.

            It’s too bad we are stuck with the choice between deficits and massive spending cuts/tax increases that will harm the economy and cause deficits anyway.

    • Ronald Reagan

      Deficits don’t matter.

    • drax

      So we should make massive spending cuts? Or huge tax increases? Which one?

      Half the Congress wants the former, half the latter. Stop pretending that reconciling the two is easy.

    • JimPB

      What specific increases in revenues, yielding what amount of additional money, and specific cuts in expenditures, resulting in what amounts of cuts, would you make to put the annual budget into balance? (Note: Social Security is NOT contributing to the deficit.)

      • drax

        SS is indeed contributing to the deficit. It is running a deficit now, and more important, its obligations will exceed income much more in the future – when it will need all those bonds paid back from when it propped up the General Fund.

  • Ralph

    Nice way by Mr. Moran to shirk his responsibility. “Ah, the deal is not very good!” — leaving his colleagues to take the blame.

    • Vicente Fox

      He didn’t abstain, he voted “no”. That IS taking responsibility.

  • Taylor

    For once I actually agree with Moran, at least on the surface. The President and BOTH parties completely failed the American people on this one.

    Moran’s right that we’re just setting up more of the same insanity a little bit down the road. I’d rather have an actual solution, even if I don’t agree with the outcome, rather than this absurd inaction and unending bickering.

  • From the Hill

    Wow, I might actually vote for Moran next time.

    This deal was political kabuki and bad for everyone (except the very wealthy). Obama should veto this disaster before it’s too late. Go off the cliff, let tax rates reset to where they should have been in the first place, and deal with sequestration and borrowing limits the right way.

    • JohnB2

      I agree. They never should have lowered the taxes in the first place. We need to get our fiscal house in order, going over the cliff is a good start.

    • ARL’er

      Moran can be sensible politically, most of the time. It’s his personal issues that are problematic.

  • internet tourettes

    The idiots were the ones who passed tax cuts when the economy was strong as opposed to strengthening the Feds balance sheet, starting two unfunded wars, and added risk to banking system by deregulation and refusing to appropriate funds for compliance with the existing ineffectual laws. You want to have the government live with in its means (which is more important than its budget) then you should have been outraged at the bush tax cuts and the fact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the resulting “war on terror” weren’t funded with additional revenue. Believe it or not the economy is still pretty messed up from all stupidity from greenspan and “W” and we are really going to have to do some hard work and sacrifice to get out of this mess.

    RE Moran: He is right. by not reaching a “grand bargain” idiots (as you calll them) like Cantor and Issa will have yet another opportunity to further weaken the economy and leverage their narrow agenda that benefits a select few at the expense of the nation as a whole. The next debt limit negotiations are going to make this exercise look like a picnic.

    • bman

      i’m glad bernankee is doing the same as greenspan and more!

      0 percent interest! I’m really making money on my savings. nice.

      • internet tourettes

        Um, like, that’s the point. Bernanke is trying to incent you to spend some money and stimulate the economy. The difference Bernanke and green span is that the economy is depressed right now and needs stimulus. Greenspan on the other hand lowered interest rates in strong economy, which incented people to leverage their incomes with loans (credit cards, auto loans and mortgages) just at the time when they should have been saving and reducing their debts.

        • bman

          really?

          You you forget, we were coming out of a recession again after 9/11

          • Herndon Hag

            A shallow, mild recession. Nothing like the near-Depression we experienced in 2008.

    • Forecloser

      You forgot to mention the two government-sponsored enterprises that condoned handing out money for homes like it was candy. The dream of homeownership for those who couldn’t afford it turned into the nation’s economic nightmare. When are Freddie and Fannie going to pay us back?

      • tmginnova

        Ah, Forecloser brings up the old right wing nonsense about how Fanny and Freddie caused the recession by trying to help poor people. Don’t look at Wall Street, no siree. Except Fanny and Freddie, who admittdely made mistakes, were late to the parade of greed and irresponsibility. The fat cats on Wall St started it and created the biggest economic scares. But let’s blame those darn poor folks, huh?

      • Carol_R

        They should eliminate Freddie and Fannie in my opinion. Since they are no safer or secure than private industry the government should get complete out of home lending.

      • drax

        Fed Study Debunks Conservative Myth That Affordable Housing Policies Caused Subprime Crisis

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/28/453978/fed-study-affordable-housing-myth/?mobile=nc

  • BBMS

    They’ve put off meaningful spending cuts for generations, why start now?

    He should have voted for it. There was never any chance of accomplishing his wishlist in one vote. It’s just not going to happen.

  • Rory

    I generally agree with him. Making the tax cuts permanent in light of massive deficits??

    -No deal on spending???

    -Basically eliminating estate tax for all but a small number of families?

    -Most of all, keeping dividend/capital gains taxes lower than normal income, which is what the super rich really care about. (Over half of all that income goes to the top 10th of the top 1 percent of the country).

    -People like Romney and Buffet are still gonna pay lower taxes than normal citizens.

    That being said, with as far right as much of the republican party has gone there’s not much that can really get done if they have the house. The fact that this just sets up more of these ‘deadline’ type fights will really hurt this country and once again shake up the markets and show the world how our political system is incapable of functioning.

    • James

      There’s going to be a day of reckoning when the rating agencies and other countries realize that the USA is just a facade. When the world moves away from the dollar and goes to something like gold as the reserve currency…look out below.

      This nation has lived beyond it’s means for far too long and its deficits are destructive.

      • Tmginnova

        There are clearly good reasons to get the long term debt into better shape. But hey the world’s money is streaming to the US, because of the strength of our economy. And the Europeans that are taking the tea party path of deep spending cuts are going back into recession. As long as the GOP crazies don’t screw things up by refusing to pay our bills or sucking all the demand out of the economy, we can get out of our troubles by smart spending that creates jobs and infrastructure and common sense revenue increases that still leaves us with low taxes on a comparative basis. The panic about cliffs and crisis is a right wing attempt to help the very rich and hurt the poor. Don’t let them do it!

    • FrenchyB

      While I generally agree with his statement, I’m viewing his ‘nay’ vote with a bit of skepticism. My guess is he only voted against the deal once he knew that it already had enough votes to pass, giving him an easy opportunity to do some grandstanding.

  • James

    I agree with him that this was a bogus deal..doesn’t address squat…but I don’t agree on the estate tax.

    You (the Government) don’t deserve nor should get anything my parents or grandparents worked hard to save and pass on to my family. You already waste enough of our taxpayer money…the hell if you need to waste money earned by families that want to pass it on to their kids and grandkids.

    • drax

      What the government “deserves” is irrelevant. The government doesn’t deserve anything. Taxes ought to be zero. But the reality is that we need a government and it needs revenue.

      • Joey

        Maybe so, but the government would need a lot less revenue if it eliminated some of the waste. How many more bombs do we need, contracts to contronies or federal workers who are out to pasture collecting a paycheck while contributing minimal value to the taxpayer?

        • Kevin

          If you fired EVERY federal worker we would still be in a revenue defecit. The reality is government expenses are going to social security and medicare. Who’s more deserving, those .01 percent who earned their money (and their offspring via low estate taxes) or those currently recieving SS and medicare. You can’t have it both ways which is what current politicians are trying to do. Either taxes must go up, or entitlement spending must go down.

          • Vik

            Or we can do both. We can raise revenue by closing tax loopholes and increasing taxes in some areas while cutting spending, including mandatory and military spending, at the same time.

        • drax

          Please stop using the word “waste.” It’s a meaningless term because it means “whatever spending I don’t think is necessary.” If it were so easy to get rid of “waste” we would have done it long ago. One man’s waste is another’s vital program.

      • Hollywood

        Ok, so why don’t we go back to Clinton era levels of spending? We still had a government then, did we not? People weren’t dying in the in 1996 were they? The spending is the problem and the country is broke, the world cannot afford our profilgacy, I hate to break the news to you.

        • Rory14

          96 level spending is fine with me, although our entitlement outlays are much higher and are rising.

          IT would be impossible, as even going back to 2006 level defense spending (which is what sequester would do) is met with cries of “gutting the military” from even some democrats.

          The situation is hopeless.

        • drax

          Hollywood, adjusted for inflation and population growth, and excluding spending on the current operations in Afghanistan and homeland security, what level do you think today’s spending should be that would compare to 1996? How much higher are we now?

    • internet tourettes

      How very patriotic of you. Your parents and grandparents were able to get the rewards of hard work because of what the federal government provided to them in the form of programs, laws and regulations that allowed them to prosper. As to waste, I can tell you have never worked for a large company where executive pay is not tied to performance and there are no consequences for incurring massive losses and the use of federal funds to bail your company out (Goldman Sachs, countrywide, GM….).

      Every time I hear statements like yours I think of what its like to try to live and work in places like Mexico, Pakistan, or any of the sub Saharan African countries. I don’t think that your grand parents would have been able to build wealth as easily as they did here….

      • Hollywood

        *barf*

        This country was more prosperous in the 19th century than it was in the 20th. Recall that the federal government was very small back then, yet, somehow, it produced more prosperity than had ever been experienced in the history of the world.

        • tmginnova

          Oh yeah, Hollywood, I too pine for the days of slavery and child labor and no weekends off and sewage running in the street and workers mangled with no compensation and no security for the elderly or disabled and no votes for women, while the rich partied on private trains and yachts. Yeah, we had a small government, and it worked for the very rich. What prosperity we had was not shared with the rest of us. Are you insane?

        • drax

          Of all the ridiculously silly comments here, this is one of the biggest. You really think our country was more prosperous in the 19th century? Did you actually take history or economics at all?

      • Arlingtonian

        Don’t put Mexico in the same basket as Pakistan. The Mexican economy is booming and its middle class is rapidly expanding, thanks to factories that have moved there from the U.S. and the excellent public universities that are there.

        Don’t lump all of the Subsaharan African countries in the same basket. For example, the Union of South Africa has a large and educated middle class, as well as a prosperous economy. The economy is booming and the middle class is growing in some other Subsaharan African countries as well. Africa is a large and diverse continent. Not all of it is poverty stricken, water deprived and suffering from rebellions, dictators, communicable diseases and civil wars.

    • Carmen Turner

      Yes, we need a hereditary upper class in the country.

      • news flash

        we already have one…more entrenched than the European ones

    • Rory

      When my grandparents came over here from Ireland and worked their way to the middle class, the estate tax was much higher than it is now.

      The estate tax helps fight income inequality, which correlates with higher crime, higher rates of mental illness, political turbulence, slower economic growth, and higher corruption.

      45 years ago, the top 1% of the country owned 9% of the wealth. Now, the top 1% own over 34% of the wealth.

      That is not a sign of a healthy society. One way to address that, and to get much needed revenue, is to have an estate tax on families who are very wealthy. It was fine in our parent’s day, it was fine in our grandparent’s day, and it should be fine now.

      • malaka

        Well stated Rory

      • fuzzy

        The Estate Tax is basically useless anyway as the super rich find ways to get around it. Good Tax and Estate lawyers will always be one step ahead of the IRS and Congress. They all set up various trusts and foundations to shield their money from being taxed (even the super wealthy who are Democrats).

      • arlingtonian

        Taxing the rich does not improve the lot of the poor. Much of the money goes to the military, politically connected industries, the bureaucracy and interest payments on the debt. Very little trickles down to any of the poor except to the minority that know how to game the public welfare system and drain the treasury.

    • Fed_up

      Not true. Most of this money – and let’s face it, most wealth isn’t earned by working hard, it’s earned in investments – has *NEVER* been taxed – ever hear of basis points? I buy it for $1, die, pass it to my kid at a “new” price of $100, he sells it for $200. $99 of those dollars will not pay 1 cent in capital gains tax. Never mind that the gains rate is way too low.

  • JimPB

    The President, Vice-President and Members of Congress have apparently lost whatever focus they may ever have had on Job 1 — Jobs, good paying jobs (enough income to provide for a family) in sufficient number to get America back to work and end the under- and unemployment of tens of millions of Americans.

    Getting America back to work will do more than anything else to whack deficits and get the debt under control, strengthen Social Security and ease the financial strains on state and local governments — and on individuals and families.

    What can the government do to get America back to work? No ideological proposals, please; only policies that have support from analyses by nonpartisan experts, e.g., the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for meaningfully increasing the number of good paying jobs for Americas and doing so in a
    cost-efficient manner.

    One policy to consider that I’ve not heard mentioned: Federal grants and other assistance for new medical schools for physicians and programs for other health professionals. Most states are too hard pressed financially to make this kind of investment (most are cutting support for higher education). Replacements will be needed within a decade for the more than half of U.S. physicians that are 55 years of age or older (an estimated 3,000 – 5,000 are working now with a cognitive impairment of aging — yikes). We should not be drawing on physicians from other countries to meet our needs here and depriving those other countries of physicians they badly need. And we have a growing shortage of nurses — critically important jobs, too. Let’s invest in creating the schools and programs so that Americans can fill all of the needed health care professional positions and benefit from the good pay of these jobs.

    • Arlingtonian

      The U.S. draws physicians from other countries because many Americans don’t want to deal with insurance companies, Medicare, hospital corporations, malpractice suits, and soon, Obamacare. They find better opportunities with less paperwork and shorter work weeks in professions other than medicine.

  • bman

    so Jim Moran is a tea party nut now, voting with them? nice

    • drax

      Great logical fallacy there.

    • KalashniKEV

      This time of year he’s a Whiskey and Tea party nut.

  • APS

    Our country should not go to wars on its credit card. During WWII we had a war tax.

  • fuzzy

    Everyone wants to cut spending and raise revenue. The problem in this country is that they only want to cut spending and raise revenue if it doesn’t personally affect them. Cut spending, but don’t touch my Social Security or Medicare; Tax the rich, but don’t raise my taxes; Cut food stamps, but don’t end the mortgage deduction on my vacation house in Bethany.
    I’m just as guilty as everyone else in that thinking, but until everyone shares in the sacrifice this deficit will get beyond repair.

  • Former Supporter

    I voted for him so many times. Never again. This is baffling. Our taxes would have gone up by $10,000 had this not passed. Moran, you’ve lost a longtime supporter and constituent, you buffoon.

  • TMP

    This one sentence shows how screwed up the Democratic mentality is:

    “This includes an estate tax structure…” – A tax on money that was taxed already several times over. Once when it was earned and if in the form of property taxed several times over as property tax. While I’m sure many in Arlington could care less about rural America, the estate tax breaks up family farms because the value of the land alone can easily exceed $5-10 million. Also, if a working class family is fiscally responsible, it is not out of the realm of possibility that a blue collar family can retire as millionaires by saving throughout their careers into 401ks and IRAs. $100 a month invested from age 25 to 65 in a decent growth stock mutual fund in a Roth IRA equals $1,176,000.

    “…which provides a massive tax cut for a small minority of the richest Americans at the cost $369 billion dollars…” – Acknowledgement that the “rich” do pay their “fair share”. Otherwise how is it that “a small minority” could “cost” the government so much in taxes?

    And let’s look at the last part of that sentence one more time “…at the cost $369 billion dollars…” – Tax rates don’t “cost” the government anything, because it’s NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S MONEY. It’s OUR MONEY. Statements like this assume that it was the government’s money to begin with and somehow letting people keep more of their own money “cost” the government something. You know what costs the government money? Wasteful spending, such as the F-35 project which appraisal for acquisition, operations and support is is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion by the time they’re done (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/the_jet_that_ate_the_pentagon)

  • Chuck

    “A tax on money that was taxed already several times over. Once when it was earned and if in the form of property taxed several times over as property tax.”

    Ah, the “multiple taxation” canard. Well, guess what, ALL taxes work that way. I pay SS tax and income tax on the same money*, and when I go to the store I pay sales tax! The multiple taxation argument against the estate tax is worthless because all taxes work additively.

    *The wealthy don’t, though! The regressive SS tax only applies to the lowest incomes in America.

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