Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, addressed House members before the vote and said leaders will leave future generations worse off than past Americans. He said Congress “eked” out as much of a tax increase as it could without addressing the systemic problem of climbing debt.
“We're taking up a bill that will not do anything to cut spending,” he said. “I am embarrassed for this generation. Future generations deserve better.”
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, said the nation is staring down a spending-driven debt crisis that threatens a major financial crisis similar to Greece. Hensarling said Democrats' solution of small business tax increases and more spending are shocking because of the escalation in debt during the past four years.
Hensarling and Gohmert voted against the bill Wednesday evening.
“Although the president claimed throughout this campaign he wanted a balanced approach of tax increases and spending reductions, H.R. 8, as amended by the Senate, not only encompasses his desired tax increase, but shockingly includes spending increases as well,” Hensarling said. “I cannot support this in good conscience.”
Hensarling said Republican House members made attempts to avoid the tax increases and address spending but blamed the president's unwillingness to compromise.
President Barack Obama is misleading Americans by trying to sell an economic policy that debt can be lowered by higher taxes alone, Hensarling said. He said the law will cost more American jobs and add trillions to national debt during the next decade.
The only way out of debt is to stop overspending, to institute pro-growth tax reform and reform and secure entitlement programs for future generations.
Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn were among 89 members who voted for the Senate versions of the bill. They both decried the lack of spending reductions.
Economist Tim Kane said both parties have done little to address the problem they will face eventually — $16 trillion (and counting) in national debt. Kane said he didn't agree with the automatic tax increases in place had the agreement not been reached but that the country is still approaching the “fiscal cliff.”
Kane said regardless of members' opinion of the tax increases, the “automatic” option would have included cuts that would have done more to control “the ultimate reckoning” caused by deficit spending.
“What's to be avoided at all cost is continuing business as usual,” he said. “That's what is to be avoided if we are to avoid bankruptcy. I don't understand what is so hard to understand about that.”
Kane noted the U.S. credit rating downgrades and an inability by leaders to address $1 trillion annual budget deficits.
Smith County Democratic Party Chairman David Henderson said the bill's approval will buy leaders time to sort out a long-term solution to the deficit. He said lawmakers must address the “actuarial imbalance in Medicare and atrocious and irrational federal spending on the military.”
Henderson said the bill was the only choice to avoid another economic dip or worse.
“There is short-term spending, and there is long-term spending,” he said. “If the government defaults, it calls into question the notes banks are holding, and then you have a bank crisis and the snowball rolling down the hill.”
Henderson said the next battle over the debt ceiling will be even more critical as lawmakers seek solvency solutions.
Kane said the economic decisions being made by both parties are transforming the nation into a centrally guided and directed, planned economic system that has historically failed. He said the deficit and debt is similar to addressing a fever with Aspirin but failing to address the illness.
“There needs to be a serious discussion about it,” he said. “The Europeans are going through a very wrenching time politically, socially and economically because they are about 10 years further down the same road we are on but the focus on Europe has stolen the spotlight from our crisis. There needs to be a sense of urgency in Congress.”