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NC Lawmakers React to Delays in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

12:19 AM, Dec 31, 2012   |    comments
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Washington, DC -- We are less than a day away from going over the so-called fiscal cliff and there is no deal.

Both Republicans and Democrats are protecting their interests, but what's at stake is higher taxes and significant cuts to federal agencies Americans depend on - like social security and the military.

Republican Congressman Howard Coble says they are in a standstill. In fact, he said its "improbable" lawmakers would leave Washington, DC, Monday.

"Of course keep in mind the negotiations have been pretty well closed to legislative leadership on both sides of the party and it almost has to be that way, anything as delicate as these negotiations have been, you couldn't very well open it up to the entire membership you'd be here eternally," explained Rep. Coble, R., NC District 6.

Coble said he wants to see legislation that doesn't increase taxes or spending. Democratic Senator Kay Hagan says she is equally frustrated.

"It is inexcusable that Congress has again brought the nation to the eleventh hour and left middle class families hanging in the balance. I continue to urge a bipartisan solution that will avert sequestration and the fiscal cliff.  If we don't act, the average North Carolina family will pay an extra $2,200 in taxes. That's unacceptable. On top of that, the consequences of sequestration are amplified in our state given our large military footprint and the economic importance of the defense industry to our local economies. I hope my colleagues will join me to enact a balanced deficit reduction plan that promotes economic growth and national security."

Republican Senator Richard Burr is blaming the president.

"Negotiations on how to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff have been ongoing since the President was reelected in November.  Last night, Republicans laid an offer on the table, but the President instructed Majority Leader Reid not to make a counteroffer that could help move the process forward.  The sticking point is simple - Republicans refuse to support a plan that uses new revenue from increased taxes for new, expanded government spending.  The President told Congress and  the American people that any new revenue would go towards paying down our national debt, but Democrats are insisting that the nearly $600 billion in new revenue should go towards new spending.  Raising taxes on the American people so the government can spend more money is unconscionable, and it is not something I will support. 

"At this point, I think it is clear that the President is not serious about reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and is using our economy and the livelihood of American families and businesses for what he sees as political gain.  Jeopardizing our economic recovery and being content to let our economy go over the cliff is a clear indication of where the President's priorities lie."

Lawmakers are continuing to work towards a solution but in the meantime, economist says playing politics and inaction could lead to an entirely avoidable economic recession.

Senator Harry Reid dismissed senators Sunday night without putting a fiscal cliff deal on the floor. They will return Monday morning at 11.

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