.

Connolly Votes 'Yes' on Fiscal Cliff Deal

Connolly says he planned to vote while "holding my nose."

The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night passed HR 8, the Tax Relief Extension Act, a permanent extension of many Bush-era tax cuts by a vote of 257 to 167. The late-night vote was taken at 10:57 p.m.

Fairfax City's 11th District Congressman Gerry Connolly voted for the extension act.

The legislation keeps the Bush era tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 and couples making less that $450,000. It also makes permanent the fixes for the Alternative Minimum Tax and delays government spending cuts for two months.

Here's the breakdown of Northern Virginia's votes Tuesday on the so-called "fiscal cliff" legislation, which the Senate passed early Tuesday morning:

  • Sen. Mark Warner: "yea"
  • Sen. Jim Webb: "yea"
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th): "yea"
  • Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th): "nay"
  • Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th): "nay"

The legislation came to a vote in the House Tuesday night after it was passed by the Senate in the early hours Tuesday morning. Webb and Warner voted for the Senate measure. The Senate vote was 89 "yeas" and eight "nays." Three senators did not vote.

The votes were taken at the 11th hour, as a new Congress — including Virginia's new Senator-elect Tim Kaine — is set to be sworn in on Thursday. Sen. Webb is retiring from the Senate.

"The Senate has acted to avoid the immediate fiscal cliff, but this negotiated agreement does little to address our deficits and it does not raise enough revenue to put our country on a path to reduce our long-term debt," Warner said in a statement.

"In coming weeks, we still must reach agreement on steps to generate more revenues, make additional spending cuts, and strengthen and reform our entitlement programs so successful programs like Medicare and Social Security will still exist 30 years from now," Warner noted.

Senator-elect Kaine also weighed in on the vote: "This bill is far from perfect, and it's time Congress stops kicking the can down the road on a long-term solution to our fiscal problems," he said in a news release. "But it's an encouraging sign that Congress can put partisanship aside for the good of our economy and the American people. Much work remains to be done and I look forward to tackling our ongoing budget issues after I'm sworn in on Thursday."

In the House, Congressman Jim Moran took to the floor Tuesday night and said "we're going to look back on this night and regret it." Moran represents Northern Virginia's 8th District, which includes many federal workers. He voted against the bill, stating "nearly 40 percent of Northern Virginia's economy in terms of federal contracts and federal employees will be on the chopping block." 

Republican Frank Wolf, who represents Northern Virginia's 10th District, also voted "no."

Fellow Democrat Congressman Gerry Connolly, who represents the 11th District, voted for the bill and indicated earlier Tuesday before the vote he would do so only by "holding my nose." 

“This is not a perfect package, but it is something that gets us by until we can tackle the larger issues in the next Congress,” Connolly said. “I pray God that the next Congress is more willing to compromise than this one.”

Moran had more to say on the matter: "Throughout negotiations aimed at staving off the economic damage of the so-called 'fiscal cliff,' I have been hoping to cast a vote for a balanced deal which addressed both long run fiscal issues and the artificial short term crisis created by the Budget Control Act," he said in a news release issued late Tuesday night after the vote. 

"Unfortunately the bill before us today is wholly inadequate," he said. "It leaves our country with three more 'fiscal cliffs'  to negotiate over the next three months. There's no clarity as to how we preserve the full faith and credit of the U.S. by raising the statutory debt limit, the economically devastating sequester is delayed two months but remains in full effect, and there's no direction as to how we will fund the government for the remainder of the year when the continuing resolution runs out in March.

"Each of these deadlines represents a major political battle in which nearly 40 percent of Northern Virginia's economy in terms of federal contracts and federal employees will be on the chopping block," he said. "Our leverage to strike a balanced deal will only be weaker in those coming battles following passage of this bill.

"Furthermore, I question the wisdom of permanently locking in revenue levels which are far too low," he said. "This includes an estate tax structure which provides a massive tax cut for a small minority of the richest Americans at the cost $369 billion dollars, in exchange for only a temporary extension of important programs that help low and middle class Americans.

"I am deeply concerned by the long term consequences of this hastily crafted agreement," Moran said, "both in terms of our ability to invest in our priorities, such as educating and training future generations, and in terms of the way we govern this country. For these reasons, I cannot in good conscience support this legislation."  

Kim McCoy January 02, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Moran...."revenue levels that are far too low".....YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Maybe if you thoughtfully CUT FEDERAL SPENDING, REFORMED SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE, AND REPEALED OBAMACARE revenue levels would be JUST FINE! btw....Obamacare is going to cost me my insurance all together...the risks associated with the "shared responsibility" are just TOO GREAT for most small businesses....SO, instead of my very caring boss being able to cover all of his employees 100%...that's right, I said he covered us 100%, we aren't going to be covered at all.....again, you liberals sicken me.
alien_zombie January 03, 2013 at 12:25 AM
I hold my nose everytime I hear the word gerry connolly.
T-Bird January 04, 2013 at 02:09 PM
"Maybe if you thoughtfully CUT FEDERAL SPENDING, REFORMED SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE, AND REPEALED OBAMACARE revenue levels would be JUST FINE!" And your evidence of that is what?? Oh, that's right you just heard someone say that on Faux News so it must be true. Sorry, but when the Republican Party adopted the stand that they intend to "destroy the Government by shrinking it into nonexistence" then I think the responsibility of the past 4 years is on them. It is clearly their plan to never have a real budget by making sure there is never enough revenue no matter how much taxes are cut. The fact that the most detrimental tax cut in history has now been made permenant is clear evidence of that. Frankly Kim, moronic liars like you make me sick. But way to cram in the maximum amount of talking points into three paragraphs. By the way, nobody believes your insurance story. Lies lies lies. And you expect to be taken seirously?
Kim McCoy January 05, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Well, "T-Bird"....I see you can't use your real name, WHY IS THAT? My evidence? Let's see, AMERICA spends $1 TRILLION DOLLARS more a year than we take in, we BORROW $50,000 dollars A SECOND. That is a spending PROBLEM...like an addict who will do anything to keep the fix coming. We support the IMF, the Muslim Brotherhood, the GSA's parties in Vegas, the "my back hurts" crowd, and the ever popular CADILLAC HEALTHCARE coverage for Congress (they're exempt from Obamacare, you know) and that's just the tip of the PORK AND WASTE ICEBERG. Social Security was NEVER supposed to be a National RETIREMENT fund; in 1935, when it passed, life expectancy was 61. However, you couldn't collect from it until you were 63...2 years after you were DEAD. Now, we retire at 62, 65, or 67 and life expectancy is 78. Obamacare IS A DISASTER. You can not believe my insurance story all you want, but the FACTS remain. My boss, who uses his evil profits to cover his employees 100% now has to expose himself to $1,000 per plan participant per incident FINES if he doesn't comply with the federal mandate to "Share responsibility" with the insurance company to DO THEIR JOB. So, now my BENEFIT has become MY EMPLOYER'S RISK. His choice is to put everything he's built at risk or NOT OFFER ME COVERAGE. You think that's the Republican's fault?....When did you begin your worship of government? When did you decide government was a better choice than the hard road of an honest, self-reliant existence?
T-Bird February 07, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Generalizations, drivel, nonsense and more drivel. Oh yeah, and no proof but your own say-so. Just because you cite "numbers" (from where again? Oh, right you didn't say), doen't by any means make them true. Oh and let me get this straight, the life expectancy in this country has risen above that of a third world country and that's a problem? And social security was not meant to be a retirement? The program, ACTUALLY called the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program was meant to assist in "retirement" in that you will need supplimental income when your older. So what exactly did you think it was anyway with your little story? Just a way of collecting taxes and never making a payment to anybody? You're a fool if you do. And oh, here's the rich one: worship of government? Really, so if anybody gets any kind of assistance, they are dishonest and lazy? I think we settled that arguent last November. By the way, when did you begin your worship of Ayn Rand and big corporations? When did caring about your fellow man become a line item on your budget to be eliminated? BTW: Before you start on a response, I don't really care.

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