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McKeon praises passage of ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

Posted: January 2, 2013 3:41 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2013 3:41 p.m.

Local Republican Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon said there are two ways of looking at Tuesday’s deal to pull the country off the “fiscal cliff”: as a tax increase for wealthy Americans or as a tax cut for the majority of the country.

With his vote to support the bill, McKeon said, he is choosing the latter perspective.

“We saved everybody making under $400,000 as an individual or $450,000 as a joint filer from a tax increase, and that covers most of the people in America,” McKeon said Wednesday. “I think that’s a major victory.”

But just because he voted for the bill does not mean he wholly supports it.

“Votes you take are never just black and white; it’s never one you support 100 percent or 0 percent,” McKeon said. “And generally if you can get 80 percent of what you want, that’s a pretty easy ‘yes’ vote.”

McKeon said he supported several major provisions of the bill, such as keeping the estate tax at a reduced rate and extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the majority of the population.

“Some of these things we couldn’t even accomplish when we had a Republican Senate and president and Congress,” McKeon said.

Despite that assessment, McKeon admitted the bill was a divisive issue for congressional Republicans. He was one of 85 Republican members of the House of Representatives to vote in favor of the bill — compared to the 151 who voted against it.

McKeon said some Republicans’ ideology to never vote for tax increases contributes to that divide.

“It’s one of those things where people decide something on principle and do not want to be confused with the facts,” McKeon said.

The bill also delays mandatory spending cuts for another two months, giving members of Congress additional time to work out a solution to more than $1 trillion in sequestration cuts that would hit domestic discretionary and military spending.

McKeon said he thinks spending can be reduced for entitlement programs, like Medicare and Social Security, as well as aid programs like food stamps.

“If we don’t do something to fix or preserve these programs, they won’t be there,” McKeon said. “We need to reduce spending and at the same time ensure these programs will last.”




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