Cliff jump averted — for now

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Suffolk’s representative in the U.S. House issued a brief statement Wednesday after voting against a last-minute deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

Congressman Randy Forbes, the Republican whose congressional district incorporates Suffolk, was among 10 of 11 Virginia congressmen to vote against the house bill on New Year’s Day.

“The reality of this bill is that we do nothing substantial to stop the dismantling of our military and we further feed the insatiable appetite of massive government spending, as we smash through the nation’s debt ceiling every time we raise it,” Forbes stated. “It is no wonder that 10 out of 11 Virginia legislators voted ‘no.’”

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At 11:01 p.m. on Tuesday, The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was supported in the House by 257 votes to 167 and sent to President Obama to sign.

Compromise amendments were engineered by Vice President Joe Biden, on behalf of Democrats, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for the Republican Party, according to reports.

The Senate had approved the amended bill, sending it back to the House for final approval, with a vote of 89 to 9.

Global financial markets rose considerably after passage of the legislation, which averted scheduled income tax increases, except for the wealthiest Americans, and spending reductions that would have made deep cuts to domestic spending, particularly in the defense realm.

Under the deal, tax cuts enacted by George W. Bush are extended for individuals earning less than $400,000 and married couples making less than $450,000.

But the expiration of a temporary reduction of the Social Security payroll levy means most taxpayers will still see a reduction in take-home pay.

In a White House news release, President Obama claimed credit for achieving “a bipartisan solution that keeps income taxes low for the middle class and grows the economy. … This means millionaires and billionaires will pay their fair share to reduce the deficit.”

However, cuts of $109 billion in military and domestic spending have reportedly been only pushed back for two months, meaning the budget bickering is destined to continue.

The deal is also expected to result in trillions added to the deficit over the next decade, setting the scene for more debt ceiling scuffles.

In voting “no,” Forbes went against House Speaker John Boehner but sided with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Virginia Senator-elect Tim Kaine, also in a statement, said he is pleased “that the House and the Senate have acted in a bipartisan and cooperative fashion.”