Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Allen West (R-FL)
These three above were the only African American members of Congress who vote for the fiscal cliff deal. West and Tim Scott of course have different reasons for their vote than Rep. Bobby Scott. Incredibly, 41 members of the Black Caucus in the House voted to make the Bush Tax cuts permanent and hand a tax break to the top 1% of wealth earners. This at a time when the wealth gap between rich and poor is the largest in 70 years.
Perhaps members need to keep in mind that they’ll be sitting in Congress having to explain these votes long after people in the office of White House legislative affairs are long gone.
Here was Bobby Scott’s rationale for voting no:
Scott Opposes Irresponsible Fiscal Cliff Deal
WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) issued the following statement on his No vote on H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012:
“The Simpson-Bowles Commission set a $4 trillion, 10-year deficit reduction goal, which would be enough to get our fiscal house in order. Considering that deficit reduction goal, I voted against this bill because it cut taxes and will add a staggering $3.9 trillion to our deficit with no indication of how it will be paid for.
“Unfortunately, there are now very few options available to Congress to offset the cost of this tax deal. There simply isn’t enough money in defense and non-defense discretionary spending to offset the cost. If spending cuts in defense and non-defense discretionary spending alone was the answer then we wouldn’t be delaying sequestration for two months as this bill does. By virtue of the size of this tax cut, it is an arithmetic certainty that Congress will have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other vital programs of the social safety net, as well as investments in our future economic competitiveness, such as education and transportation.
“Responsibly reducing our budget deficit requires making tough, unpopular choices. We didn’t do that today since this bill does nothing to reduce our deficit. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will add $3.9 trillion to our deficit. It does, however, make the task of responsibly reducing our deficit all the more difficult and makes it much more likely that seniors, the disabled, students, and our most vulnerable communities will bear the greatest burden when Congress eventually pays for what we did today.”
January 1, 2013 — WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) released the following statement on his vote on the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’
“This week we voted on the tax portion of the manufactured ‘fiscal cliff.’ This agreement won’t create jobs, but it does have some important measures in it like a 1-year extension of unemployment. I voted “no” because it does not generate the revenue necessary to invest in people and help the poor, and it enshrined in law the very irresponsible Bush Tax Cuts. It is hard for me to understand how the new definition for “middle class” has become $400k of income a year. This agreement locks in a tax structure that helps the wealthy more than the middle class and only gives temporary relief to everyone else.
“In our biggest chance to make our income, estate and investment taxes more progressive and fairer, we did not do nearly enough. And by doing this tax bill in isolation, the Republicans are now enthusiastically talking about driving the country into bankruptcy at the end of February when we will hit the debt ceiling.
“I am for compromise and sensible governing – and this new tax law is bad policy that will make governing more difficult.”