Arkansas House Delegation on Fiscal Cliff Measure

Legislation to block the "fiscal cliff" is headed to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature. The bill will avoid, for now, the major tax increases and government spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect with the new year.

Final approval came in the House on New Year's Night. The vote was 257 to 167. The Senate passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier.

Of the Arkansas delegation in the House, Mike Ross and Steve Womack voted for the measure. Rick Crawford and Tim Griffin voted against it.

Congressman Womack, a Republican from District 3 released the following statement on his support for the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012:

"While I am disappointed this deal failed to address America's most pressing issue - spending and our $16.4 trillion debt - it was imperative that we prevented the massive tax hike on the millions of Americans who can least afford it.{}{}The notion that because we didn't get the spending cuts we wanted and should therefore raise taxes is absurd, and{}the discussion on spending is far from over.{}

Rick Crawford, a Republican who serves the 1st District issued this statement:

"With H.R. 8's passage and the permanent extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for 99 percent of Americans, the President can no longer use the 'class warfare' narrative; he now owns this economy.{}{}If he continues to dig his heels in and refuses to come to the table on spending, he will have failed as a leader."The debate on the debt ceiling - which Secretary Geithner reported that we formally reached last night - and the expiration of the CR in March must address our unsustainable spending.{} If Congress cannot do this, we will have failed America."



"Many hours of negotiations went into crafting a deal to avert the so-called 'fiscal cliff'. I want to thank Speaker Boehner for his efforts to make the best out of a very bad situation. However, I cannot support the end result of the negotiations. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted this deal will add nearly $4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. The only way we can truly avoid going over any fiscal cliff is by making fundamental and permanent reforms to end Washington's spending addiction. Permanent spending controls are needed to ensure this Congress, and all future Congresses, do not spend our children and grandchildren into oblivion."This deal to avert the 'fiscal cliff' will make it harder to grow the economy and create jobs. Small business owners and family farmers, not just the wealthiest of Americans, will now have to decide how to pay an increased tax burden. Chances are they will be forced to let employees go, cut hours and benefits and postpone hiring new workers. Not to mention this deal does nothing to address the biggest burden facing America's economic growth, our mounting national debt."With respect to farm policy, Congress cannot expect farm families to continue producing the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply on the planet without the certainty provided under a long-term Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee passed a fiscally sound, bipartisan five-year Farm Bill in June that would provide producers with the ability to plan well into the future. The short-term policy extension included in the fiscal cliff deal would hurt producers in Arkansas and around the country.{}{}{}{}{}{}{}

Congressman Tim Griffin represents the 2nd District and was recently selected to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. His statement:

"After five months of sitting on the House's tax relief bill (H.R. 8), the Senate finally amended the bill and returned it to the House early this morning.{} The Senate bill increases revenue to the treasury by hundreds of billions of dollars but still adds billions of dollars in new spending to our ballooning deficit.{} That's unacceptable and a far cry from the President's so-called 'balanced approach.'{} Unfortunately, in Washington tax increases are effective immediately and spending cuts are postponed indefinitely."I have always been an advocate for lower taxes for all Arkansans, and that's why I supported H.R. 8 on August 1, 2012, which would have extended the Bush tax cuts for all Americans.{} While there are some positive aspects to the Senate version of this legislation, including the permanent extension of those tax cuts for most Americans, we must stop our out-of-control spending and piling more debt on the heads of our children and grandchildren.{} I have supported every single major bipartisan agreement proposed by the President, the Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker since I was elected, but this one is a bridge too far."