Why Rep. Adam Smith voted against the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

Representative Adam Smith, who represents most of the Central District (excluding Madrona), was one of only 16 Democrats in the House who voted against the so-called fiscal cliff bill that passed Congress this week. The bill includes higher income tax rates for people making over $400,000 per year, but also includes an increase in payroll taxes that most Americans will feel.

In a press release, Smith explains why he did not like the bill (and no, his reasons are not exactly the same as the 151 Republicans who voted against it). From his office:

“I voted against the fiscal cliff deal because it left too much uncertainty for government programs, lacked a realistic path towards deficit reduction, and fell short in providing necessary revenues to effectively move towards fiscal responsibility.

“The legislation leaves far too much uncertainty on government spending. Sequestration still looms, it was simply delayed two months, and the debt ceiling was not addressed.  As the Ranking Member on the Armed Services Committee, I am concerned that our Department of Defense once again faces a situation where they do not know how much money they will have to spend, and the very real possibility of indiscriminate across-the-board cuts just two months from now.  I am also concerned that all other areas of discretionary spending–education, transportation, infrastructure, housing, and more–face this same crippling uncertainty.  I recognize that defense and other areas of spending will face cuts, but we should be clear on what those cuts will be and they need to be more thoughtful than the blind across-the-board approach of sequestration.

“Second, the deal did nothing to address our long term debt and deficit problems.  No grand bargain was reached that could help our economy right now by giving some clear picture of what our ten-year plan is to achieve some measure of fiscal responsibility.  I understand that our current situation means that balancing the budget in that ten-year period is not a wise policy decision.  But we should at least have something in place that shows we will keep the debt at a manageable level.  This bill failed to do that.

“And third, not only did this bill fail to offer that ten-year plan, it made getting to a reasonable ten-year plan far more difficult by making permanent 90 percent of the Bush Tax Cuts.  By not allowing those tax cuts to expire, and then making them permanent, we took $3.5 Trillion of revenue off the table. This will lead to one of two results, both of which I am strongly against. Either our debt will climb over 100 percent of GDP or we will have to make devastating cuts in vital programs like Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, education, transportation, and more.

“We face very tough choices right now.  Our economy is weak, and our debt is substantial and growing by nearly one trillion dollars a year with no end in sight.  There are no easy answers.  But continuing to take an approach that delays addressing the fundamental choices we face will only make matters worse.”

And, as Slog pointed out, Smith took on the REALLY SMART people over at Fox and Friends to explain himself and defend the President:

3 thoughts on “Why Rep. Adam Smith voted against the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

  1. I think I like Adam Smith- but he’s living in a different Washington if he wants all of the Bush tax cuts to expire any time soon. Politics is about what you can get done, not what should be done.

  2. I think basically I will also get to liking Adam Smith. His relationship with Seattle voters is new. I think he made a mistake in this press release in not saying what he will focus on in the future and not mentioning some of the areas of the legislation he may have supported. Ryan, I agree with you. However, it would be comforting to know where he stands on issues that are coming and where his focus will be. He could have better introduced himself to his new constituents by letting us know his committee assignments and what he hopes to accomplish there with them and those areas that are most important to him. I tended to My husband and daughter both received a postcard from him letting them know how to contact his office for services. Maybe mine is in the mail.

    Below are the types of program comments that I would have liked to hear from him. I would like to know more about how he thinks about things. Then if I disagree, I can let him know.

    Since I already sensed that $250,000 was not a line in the sand, I was not that upset by the deal since it also included some caps on deductions.

    The reduction in the Social Security withholding could have eventually undermined Social Security, and while we the working people will miss the extra $$, it is probably for the best that the regular deduction was restored. SS should be separate from the budget. It was was until 1968 when the SS Trust was added to the regular budget figures to decrease the deficit. It should be separate and not a part of the budget considerations.

    The VA health system model for prescription drugs is a good one for Medicare.
    Eventually the R&D tax credits have to brought under some control. They are very expensive credits and divert a large amount of funding away from public institutions. I don’t know all the details, but enough is enough. States also offer various incentives. When something is developed that makes a huge profit, I don’t believe the taxpayers or the government receives any direct return on the profits. I am not saying that nothing like this should exist or there aren’t benefits to society, but they deserve to be closely examined. Many activities benefit society.