OKLAHOMA CITY — The Republican members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation offered the following statements concerning the recent 'Fiscal Cliff' legislation:
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading Senate conservative, joined a bi-partisan group of Senators in voting to avert a fiscal cliff and delay sequestration for two months. In a late night vote of 89-8, the deal permanently extends Bush tax cuts for a majority of Americans, prevents a death tax increase, and fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): "While this deal to avoid the fiscal cliff is not perfect, Senate Democrats have caved to making permanent the Bush tax cuts for 99 percent of Americans," said Inhofe. "The deal will cement the tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 a year or $450,000 for families, and permanently fix the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Even though President Obama wanted to extend the death tax exemption only up to $1 million, this deal extends the exemption for up to $5 million, $10 million for couples. As I have travelled around Oklahoma, it has been clear to me that this is the single most important issue for our farmers, ranchers, and family owned businesses. "One of my greatest concerns about the fiscal cliff has been the devastating cuts that would happen to our military due to defense sequestration. This deal avoids those cuts for two months to allow for a better solution. While I would like to have sequestration addressed, I am hopeful the deal's two-month delay will help us better prioritize deep spending cuts while protecting our military and national security. "The deal also includes an important one year extension of the farm bill, and extends for one year provisions that prevent doctors from being forced to take rate cuts for treating Medicare patients. "I do not agree with the deal's extension of unemployment benefits for another year or that it only achieves a small deficit reduction. I look forward to negotiating more spending cuts when we deal with the debt limit increase. Even though President Obama wanted that included in this deal, we are wisely waiting to address that separately so that we can have better spending cuts. After four years of Obama running up $5.3 trillion in deficit spending, any deal to raise the debt ceiling must be contingent upon making significant cuts to get our fiscal house in order. "This deal should be seen as a victory for conservatives as it achieves for the first time in decades a bipartisan agreement for permanent tax cuts for a majority of Americans. These tax cuts will help to restore certainty and encourage economic growth."
"While this bill is far from perfect, it does prevent massive tax increases while making tax cuts permanent for 99 percent of Americans. Congress and the president, however, have a lot of work to do to address our long-tern spending problem. Our debt – which is 120 percent of our economy if you count federal, state and local debt – is still the greatest threat to our national security. We will never address that threat until Congress and the president acknowledge that the only way to save entitlement programs is to change them."
Page 2 of 2 - Rep. Sullivan: No statement
"I am pleased the House passed H.R. 8, The American Taxpayer Relief Act on Tuesday, which provides permanent tax relief for families, farmers, and small businesses and prevents an enormous tax increase on all Americans. Specifically, this bill locks in place current tax rates for middle class families, provides a permanent patch for the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and holds down the death tax for farmers and ranchers. It postpones the sequestration, which would have caused harmful cuts to our national defense during a time when we are still fighting a war in Afghanistan. Further, this bill provides a one year extension of the 2008 farm bill, which gives agricultural producers certainty and allows the Agriculture Committees in Congress to continue working on a five-year comprehensive farm bill. "This legislation is only one step in the process of solving Washington's spending problem. Now it's time for the President to work with Congress to address our $16 trillion dollar debt and find responsible, commonsense ways to cut spending and grow our economy. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives in this effort and protect hard-working American taxpayers."
Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved the Senate-passed fiscal cliff agreement to extend and make permanent low tax rates for individuals earning up to $400,000 per year and families earning $450,000. The legislation delays devastating military cuts for two months and prevents numerous other damaging tax policies including an increase in the Alternative Minimum Tax. "This agreement is far from perfect, but preventing the largest tax increase in history and making tax cuts permanent for 98 percent of taxpayers is a major victory for American workers and for the economy. "While I would prefer a combination of tax cuts and spending cuts, passage of this bill lays the groundwork for significant spending reductions in the coming weeks. With tax rate increases off the table, President Obama and Senate Democrats will be forced to confront reality and accept spending and entitlement reforms. "Passage of permanent tax relief ensures that the upcoming budget debates will be solely focused on spending restraint. Congress will have three significant opportunities in the next three months to reduce the deficit when we debate the debt ceiling, the across-the-board sequestration cuts, and the government funding bill that expires in March. The fiscal cliff is certainly not the last debate we'll have over spending, but it is the last time President Obama will be able to threaten massive tax increases to avoid addressing the real causes of our debt."
"Tonight, the House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, commonly known as the fiscal cliff bill. I could not support this bill. While the fiscal cliff was a real threat to our economy, the mushrooming debt is an even greater threat to our future. At the end of the day, our debt is not a Democrat or Republican problem, it is an American problem, and it will require significant spending restraint to resolve. Unfortunately, the bill that passed tonight does not move us forward toward solving the $16.4 trillion national debt that looms over every American. There were very strong and compelling reasons to vote either way on this bill, and I have great respect for my principled colleagues who voted for it. This bill made the tax rates permanent for the first time in over a decade, providing certainty for our economy. The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) trap was fixed, the dairy subsidy was fixed, the irrational congressional pay increase was stopped, and many of the other tax issues were adjusted for those in poverty through the middle class. But the bill also further burdens Medicare providers, increases tax subsidies in a time when we are trying to simplify the tax code, and increases federal spending by several billion dollars. For years the President has consistently called for a balanced approach of spending cuts and tax increases, while House Republicans have rightly pointed out that Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Unfortunately, this bill lacks the "balance" required to address our long-term fiscal issues. No amount of taxation can pull our nation out of debt. Even with tonight's tax increase on "the wealthy," our deficit for 2013 will still be at or over one trillion dollars for the fifth year in a row. For our children's sake, I hope the President will actually follow through on his promise to work with Congress to restrain spending in the coming months. This means actual, immediate spending cuts, reforming unsustainable entitlement programs, and overhauling the cumbersome and complicated tax code. I have personally spoken to Speaker Boehner, who is committed this year to propose and pass meaningful solutions to get our fiscal house in order and put us on a path to solve our national debt. Tonight was only one step in a long journey. Please continue to email, call, and utilize Twitter and Facebook to voice your comments and concerns on this or any other legislative issues."