In his latest EC from DC column, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO, discusses the situation as the nation heads toward the fiscal cliff.
The coming of a new year always holds so much hope – so much promise. As we look to 2013, there is indeed much to be thankful for. And as we continue celebrating this holiday season with family and friends, we also begin to look toward a year that will require serious thought and hard work.
Over the last few weeks the focus in Washington, and across the country, has been on the fiscal cliff. The politics are frustrating for most of us. As I travel throughout the Fifth District of Missouri, so many of you have wondered aloud why elected representatives cannot simply put the angry rhetoric, partisan politics and entrenched positions aside – and get the job done. I could not agree more.
A balanced budget is critical for our nation to continue the economic rebound we are now experiencing. It is not happening fast enough, but it is happening. Getting our deficit under control is a necessary step for the long-term health of our economy. Businesses here at home and abroad must have confidence in our ability to accomplish this for job growth and economic security to continue. This is something we must do not just for ourselves and our children, but our children’s children. I am committed to that goal.
I am also committed to strengthening the middle class and avoiding tax hikes on these hardworking families. This would include some 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses. These are the families playing by the rules, getting up each and every morning and going to work, and in many cases, still struggling to put food on the table. At the same time, I believe the wealthiest Americans should pay their fair share. And I will defend Social Security and unemployment insurance for those actively looking for a job. All of this can be accomplished while continuing to boost the economy and grow jobs.
We must get a comprehensive package put together and time is of the essence. I have often referred to the fiscal cliff as the New Year’s Nightmare. And while automatic cuts would not begin all at once, this is not a road we need to begin traveling at all. What we need to do is come together, with open hearts, calm heads, and a spirit of cooperation. That is what you elected us to do and that is what I will continue doing.