This is what you voted for.
(Democrat) Congressman Peter Welch speaks with reporters in his Burlington office Monday before returning to Washington. “Up to this point there has been no negotiation,” he says. “It’s been an all-or-nothing approach.”
As the lame-duck Congress reconvenes Tuesday, Congressman Peter Welch is outlining his priorities for the session. But Vermont’s lone congressman is skeptical a deal will be reached to avert what is being called the looming fiscal cliff.
If the economy were to go over the so-called cliff, economists say we could be looking at another recession. And the Congressional Budget Office has said increases in taxes for everyone and across-the-board spending cuts would delay any economic growth. Democrats want to end Bush-era tax cuts above $250,000, which are set to expire, but Republicans oppose any increase in tax rates and want to cut entitlement spending like Medicare and Medicaid.
“It was my way or the highway for the past two years, and it doesn’t work,” Welch told reporters Monday. After winning re-election handily, Congressman Welch says voters sent a message to lawmakers in Washington: to stop partisan gridlock, and to broker a budget agreement that includes revenues.
“It was also clear in exit polls that a lot of people who supported [Mitt] Romney thought it was totally right that people who’ve been doing really well help us with the debt and the deficit,” Welch says. “So I return to Washington with a lot of hope.” With a lot of hope but, he adds, a healthy dose of skepticism, too, that Congress can strike a deal to avoid tax increases and spending cuts.
……In fact, the Ryan budget cuts would have lowered Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate to 1 percent. They also increase Pentagon spending and they turn Medicare into a voucher program. So there has been no serious discussion.
Welch says that the discussion instead had been polarized. And Congress, he argues, should be willing to go over the so-called fiscal cliff…
Obama invited a panel of fiscal experts to sort out the looming crises. In other words, his Hollywood, union, and socialist pals:
Pulling together some of the coalition that backed his re-election, President Obama on Tuesday is summoning organized labor and some progressive policy groups to the White House to consult on the “fiscal cliff” ahead.
The meeting will include more than 10 labor and progressive leaders, including Mary Kay Henry, SEIU; Lee Saunders, AFSCME; Dennis Van Roekel, NEA; Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO; Neera Tanden and John Podesta, Center for American Progress; Bob Greenstein, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities; Laura Burton Capps, Common Purpose Project; Max Richtman, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Justin Ruben, MoveOn; and Deepak Bhargava, Center for Community Change.
The confab comes as members of Congress return to Capitol Hill for their lame duck session. Obama is scheduled to sit down with the group on Friday.