Michigan legislators help avoid fiscal cliffPublished 4:42pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Michigan legislators were among the many helping America avoid going over the fiscal cliff with the passage of a late-night bill Tuesday.
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Carl Levin, D-Michigan, both voted yes, helping the bill pass 89-8 in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
U.S. Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, also voted in favor of the bill, which passed the Republican-controlled House by a vote of 257 to 167.
Twelve of 15 Michigan House Representatives voted yes, with Republicans Justin Amash, Bill Huizenga and Tim Walber voting no.
Levin said passing the bill was essential.
“Inaction would have threatened to throw us back into a recession, and that was clearly unacceptable,” Levin said. “So while I would have preferred an agreement that better addressed our historical shortfall in revenues, passing an imperfect agreement was far better than the alternative of returning to recession.”
The bill keeps the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $400,000 a year and couples making less than $450,000, while extending unemployment benefits.
“It is critically important that the U.S. Senate has come together to prevent tax increases on middle class families and small businesses, extend unemployment benefits for those struggling to find a job and end tax breaks for millionaires our country can no longer afford,” Stabenow said. “This agreement accomplishes that, providing certainty for families and businesses and allowing our economic recovery to continue.”
What the bill doesn’t do, however, is permanently address the automatic cuts in federal spending. It only delays those cuts, called sequestration, for another two months.
“As we seek in the coming months a more comprehensive approach to avoid sequestration, one that will require both prudent spending cuts and additional revenues, it is imperative that we focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars lost to tax avoidance schemes,” Levin said. “Closing offshore tax loopholes and ending corporate tax avoidance gimmicks will help us avoid the harmful automatic cuts to important domestic and national security priorities and make the tax system fairer.”