Wed January 2, 2013
WNY delegation supports fiscal cliff agreement
After weeks of gloomy warnings regarding an impending federal fiscal cliff, Congress worked at the last minute to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that would have taken effect in the new year.
All of western New York's congressional delegation voted in favor of avoiding the "fiscal cliff." The package approved 257-to-167 late last night protects 99 percent of Americans from a tax increase.
Western New York Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter says she reluctantly voted in favor. During a speech on the House floor, Slaughter blasted Republicans and several of their longstanding policies.
"The idea behind the fiscal cliff was the potential for a self-inflicted wound (that) would force Congress to address the growing deficit and debt," Slaughter said.
"But from the beginning, the plan was flawed. Over the last 10 years, our deficit has ballooned because of the cost of two wars and massive, unpaid-for tax cuts.”
Southern Tier Republican Tom Reed joined Buffalo-area Democrats Brian Higgins and Kathy Hochul in supporting the legislation.
Higgins says the spending cuts would have hurt companies like Roswell Park and Moog, an East Aurora defense contractor that employs nearly 8,400 people.
"They would have taken a major hit as a government contractor," Higgins said. "That's what these cuts would have meant to Western New York."
Higgins says the agreement prevents $109 billion in spending cuts. But he notes the deal only delays those cuts for two months.