Barletta, Marino pleased with bill, but say spending cuts still needed
WASHINGTON, D.C. - It's all about cutting spending, U.S. Reps. Lou Barletta, R-11, and Tom Marino, R-10, said in statements following a New Year's Night's vote to "turn back from the fiscal cliff."
"As we approached the fiscal cliff, I said my goal was to get the lowest taxes possible for as many of my constituents as possible, and this bill does that," Barletta said. "This bill cuts taxes for 99 percent of Americans, and it makes those lower taxes permanent, which means nearly all of my constituents will keep more money in their pockets."
Barletta said Congress still must address the nation's "spending problem," but that the vote assured stability "by stepping back from the fiscal cliff."
He said the bill makes permanent 90 percent of the tax policies enacted in President Bush's term a decade ago, including the capital gains and dividends tax rates for middle-class families. It permanently alters the estate tax, the so-called "death tax" so family farms and small businesses aren't "crippled after the passing of a loved one."
The bill extends for five years other important tax credits, like the earned income tax credit and other tax credits used to pay for college, Barletta said. Also, it permanently fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax, which affects millions of Americans, and it avoids a 27 percent cut in reimbursement to doctors who see Medicare patients.
"While I'm disappointed this bill does not include spending cuts, this is a tax bill, not a spending bill, so I will fight to cut ridiculous government overspending during the upcoming debate on raising the debt limit," he said. "At some point, we need to address the root of our problem - the reckless spending."
Marino said he was encouraged that the House and Senate were able to come to an agreement "and overcome the lack of leadership displayed by President Obama throughout this painful process."
He added, "It is now time to turn our full attention to cutting spending and balancing the budget."