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Congressman Paulsen: Fiscal Cliff Deal 'Does Nothing to Solve Long-Term Problems'

U.S. Congressman Erik Paulsen voted against passage of last week's "fiscal cliff" bill and says it is "unconscionable" that deal included hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to special interest industries

by Erik Paulsen

Congress has a history of engaging in short term fixes instead of embracing long term solutions. It's one of my biggest frustrations and reasons there is uncertainty in the economy.  The final fiscal cliff deal failed to bring any meaningful solution to reform spending or reduce the budget deficit. Ironically, it increases the deficit by $4 trillion.  

Instead, the deal postponed automatic spending cuts for two months that were supposed to begin in January, so in February we will have a new budget cliff to deal with.

It's also unconscionable that this deal included hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to special interest industries like Hollywood, NASCAR, and Puerto Rican rum producers, but did not stop the devastating new tax on the life-saving and life-improving medical device industry. The medical device tax, which just took effect, will harm one of Minnesota’s true success stories and threatens its 35,000 high paying jobs. Many of our Minnesota medtech companies have already begun laying off workers.

At a time when Washington borrows 46-cents on every dollar it spends, we need long term solutions to cut spending and fundamentally reform our outdated tax code to make it simple, fair, and more competitive so that it rewards investment, savings, innovation, and hard work. 

In addition, this bill extends the current farm bill policies, including wasteful subsidy programs. Republicans, Democrats, and farmers all agree that these programs are unnecessary and eliminating them could have saved taxpayers billions of dollars.  

I spoke with Minnesota families and small businesses; I read and re-read the bill.  But at the end of the day, I could not cast my vote for a bill that is fiscally irresponsible and does nothing to solve the long-term problems facing our economic recovery.  

As we look ahead I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to address and lower our national debt, reform government, and grow the economy. 

Kelly January 08, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Paulsen once again demonstrates his hypocrisy: He rails against the pork that provided tax breaks to "special interest group," while complaining that his own special-interest group didn't get any. You want to kill the tax on medical devices? Introduce a bill that can win or fail on its own merits rather than shoving it into legislation that is truly critical to our country's economy. Oh wait, you can't do that because that's not the way Congress works any more.
Kimberly January 08, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Many thanks to Congressman Paulsen for researching the legislation before casting his vote. What affects the medical device industries should be of special interest to all of us because the medical device tax is negatively impacting our state's economy... We need people like Congressman Paulsen who will look for long term answers that will help Minnesotans, as well!
Nick January 08, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I want to thank Congressman Paulsen for his vote. I actually preferred that we "go off the cliff" Why? because I am a realist, and in order to curb our run away deficit, and actually get it through congress, it is going to require both spending cuts and tax increases. Ideally I would like to see much more cut, then taxes raised, but the reality is, that we will not get congress to approve such a measure. If the only way to get serious cuts enacted, is to raise taxes (go off the cliff), then I for one say we should have let it happen. At 34 years old, kicking the can further down the road, like they have done, just means I will be left high and dry, with an exponentially larger debt and deficit when I approach retirement years. The cuts must come sooner or later.....we better start now.
john funk January 09, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Your headline should say Congressman Paulsen does nothing to solve long term problems. Truth is, his do nothing approach would have raised taxes on 99% of US, tossed the recovery now gaining steam on the trash pile, and probably pushed US in another recession. He was willing to do that for YOU. Thank heavens the majority of congress prevailed!

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