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Moran Votes 'No' on Fiscal Cliff Deal

Congressman says measure puts Northern Virginia 'on the chopping block.'

The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night passed HR 8, the Tax Relief Extension Act, a permanent extension of many Bush-era tax cuts by a vote of 257 to 167. The late-night vote was taken at 10:57 p.m.

The legislation keeps the Bush era tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 and couples making less that $450,000. It also makes permanent the fixes for the Alternative Minimum Tax and delays government spending cuts for two months.

Here's the breakdown of Northern Virginia's votes Tuesday on the so-called "fiscal cliff" legislation, which the Senate passed early Tuesday morning:

  • Sen. Mark Warner: "yea"
  • Sen. Jim Webb: "yea"
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th): "yea"
  • Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th): "nay"
  • Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th): "nay"

The legislation came to a vote in the House Tuesday night after it was passed by the Senate in the early hours Tuesday morning. Webb and Warner voted for the Senate measure. The Senate vote was 89 "yeas" and eight "nays." Three senators did not vote.

The votes were taken at the 11th hour, as a new Congress — including Virginia's new Senator-elect Tim Kaine — is set to be sworn in on Thursday. Sen. Webb is retiring from the Senate.

"The Senate has acted to avoid the immediate fiscal cliff, but this negotiated agreement does little to address our deficits and it does not raise enough revenue to put our country on a path to reduce our long-term debt," Warner said in a statement.

"In coming weeks, we still must reach agreement on steps to generate more revenues, make additional spending cuts, and strengthen and reform our entitlement programs so successful programs like Medicare and Social Security will still exist 30 years from now," Warner noted.

Senator-elect Kaine also weighed in on the vote: "This bill is far from perfect, and it's time Congress stops kicking the can down the road on a long-term solution to our fiscal problems," he said in a news release. "But it's an encouraging sign that Congress can put partisanship aside for the good of our economy and the American people. Much work remains to be done and I look forward to tackling our ongoing budget issues after I'm sworn in on Thursday."

In the House, Congressman Jim Moran took to the floor Tuesday night and said "we're going to look back on this night and regret it." Moran represents Northern Virginia's 8th District, which includes many federal workers. He voted against the bill, stating "nearly 40 percent of Northern Virginia's economy in terms of federal contracts and federal employees will be on the chopping block." 

Republican Frank Wolf, who represents Northern Virginia's 10th District, also voted "no."

Fellow Democrat Congressman Gerry Connolly, who represents the 11th District, voted for the bill and indicated earlier Tuesday before the vote he would do so only by "holding my nose." 

“This is not a perfect package, but it is something that gets us by until we can tackle the larger issues in the next Congress,” Connolly said. “I pray God that the next Congress is more willing to compromise than this one.”

Moran had more to say on the matter: "Throughout negotiations aimed at staving off the economic damage of the so-called 'fiscal cliff,' I have been hoping to cast a vote for a balanced deal which addressed both long run fiscal issues and the artificial short term crisis created by the Budget Control Act," he said in a news release issued late Tuesday night after the vote. 

"Unfortunately the bill before us today is wholly inadequate," he said. "It leaves our country with three more 'fiscal cliffs'  to negotiate over the next three months. There's no clarity as to how we preserve the full faith and credit of the U.S. by raising the statutory debt limit, the economically devastating sequester is delayed two months but remains in full effect, and there's no direction as to how we will fund the government for the remainder of the year when the continuing resolution runs out in March.

"Each of these deadlines represents a major political battle in which nearly 40 percent of Northern Virginia's economy in terms of federal contracts and federal employees will be on the chopping block," he said. "Our leverage to strike a balanced deal will only be weaker in those coming battles following passage of this bill.

"Furthermore, I question the wisdom of permanently locking in revenue levels which are far too low," he said. "This includes an estate tax structure which provides a massive tax cut for a small minority of the richest Americans at the cost $369 billion dollars, in exchange for only a temporary extension of important programs that help low and middle class Americans.

"I am deeply concerned by the long term consequences of this hastily crafted agreement," Moran said, "both in terms of our ability to invest in our priorities, such as educating and training future generations, and in terms of the way we govern this country. For these reasons, I cannot in good conscience support this legislation."  

ET1221 January 02, 2013 at 09:56 AM
I am so disappointed in our elected officials! Nationwide... They seem to care more about themselves and their backers than the plight of the American people. Shame on you! You will not be voted back in... It's not about you, it's about the people of our once great country!
Jody January 02, 2013 at 05:11 PM
The Dems won their 300+ Billion stimulus spending and their increased taxes on the wealthy and they aren't even happy. Moran is even heartsick that the estate tax increased to only 40% instead of 55%! Moran and Connelly spoke against the attempt to block Obama's Exec.Order for a federal employee pay increase. (Another attempt by Obama to pander to a voting group.) Their pay should be frozen until their pay/benefits come down to just above private levels. Our leaders need to do the unpopular/difficult things that really need to be done if we are going to get off the cliff and save the value of our dollar. Decreasing our spending/debt and decreasing our money supply is the only way to increase the dollar's value and get our standard of living back up. Hope we can survive another 4 years of this.
John Farrell January 03, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Moran got it exactly right. Republicans won again and our President demonstrated a spine more like his hero's predeccesor in the White house than Honest Abe.

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