News | Oregon

Oregon House Democrats Unimpressed By 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill

OPB | Jan. 2, 2013 5:04 p.m. | Portland

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The bill to avoid the so called “fiscal cliff,” passed the U.S. House of Representatives with 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans.

Only 16 Democrats voted against it.

Three of them came from Oregon.

Kristian Foden-Vencil explains some of their reasoning.


Democrats Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader all bucked their party with their votes.

Speaking on OPB’s Think Out Loud DeFazio said he didn’t vote for the bill because Democrats were giving away their biggest bargaining chip.

“With the expiration of all the tax cuts, the President had extraordinary leverage, he has just given that away. The Republicans got virtually everything they ever wished for.”

He says the stage has been set for what he calls “March Madness.” That’s when Congress will have to deal with the debt ceiling limit and spending cuts, which legislators agreed to punt Tuesday.

Fifth district Democrat, Kurt Schrader was also on Think Out Loud. He said he didn’t vote for the plan because it doesn’t do anything to stabilize Social Security or Medicare. And he called the bill a short-term fix.

“We’re going to be facing the same thing two months from now and people back home are going to be wondering, ‘Well I thought this was all done in January. I thought you guys all took care of that.’ Well the answer is, no we did not.”

Democrat Earl Blumenauer also voted against the package. He has said in the past that he wanted a wide-ranging deal that would significantly cut military spending and subsidies for large farming businesses 

Democrat Suzanne Bonamici voted in favor of the bill. In a statement she said “This bill is not perfect, but it is the result of negotiation and compromise among Congress, the Administration, and the two political parties.”

While most Oregon Democrats voted against the bill, Oregon Republican Greg Walden voted for it. That’s even though most Republican House members voted against the plan.

In a statement, Walden, said the plan isn’t perfect. But he said he couldn’t sit by as the average Oregon family faced a tax increase of more than $3,000 a year.

His vote has already attracted criticism from the Right. Americans for Limited Government issued a statement calling it “inexplicable and disappointing.”

Across the Columbia in Washington, Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler also voted for the bill. She issued a statement saying residents in Southwest Washington cannot afford to send more of their hard-earned money to D.C.

She said the agreement was not a long-term solution, but it protects 99-point-5 percent of her constituents from tax hikes.

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