TERRE HAUTE —
Faced with the prospect of spending the final hours of New Year’s Eve on Capitol Hill with other lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-8th, said Monday that reaching a deal to avoid plunging over the “fiscal cliff” is very important for the country.
Bucshon said averting the so-called cliff is needed to prove to the American public and to financial markets that Democrats and Republicans in Washington can work together.
“I think the visual … of not doing something is not good for the country,” Bucshon told the Tribune-Star by telephone Monday. “I think it’s important that we get something done.”
Bucshon, a Republican, said he firmly believes new taxes are not necessary, including on the wealthiest Americans, but seemed resigned that higher taxes are coming.
“The bottom line is this: The American people re-elected Barack Obama as president and what you’re going to get with that, you’re going to get higher taxes, not only on the top brackets but on everyone starting [today], because of the Obamacare taxes that are hitting everyone,” he said. “That’s what the American people voted for and that’s what they’re going to get.”
Earlier Monday, President Obama conducted a short, campaign-style news conference in front of a backdrop of middle class Americans at which he urged Congress to reach a deal before midnight.
A confident-looking president warned Congress not to handle the country’s fiscal problems by simply proposing spending cuts without also adding new sources of revenue.
“Now, if Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone … that will hurt seniors, or hurt students, or hurt middle-class families without asking also equivalent sacrifice from millionaires or companies with a lot of lobbyists … then they’ve got another thing coming. That’s not how it’s going to work,” Obama said in his roughly 10-minute statement.
Bucshon, who said he watched part of the president’s address, called it a “campaign rally” containing “populist rhetoric.”
Despite the uncertainty still engulfing Washington on New Year’s Eve, Bucshon said he is confident 2013 will be “a great year.”
He said he plans to push for tax reform to help spur economic growth.
A less burdensome corporate tax code will make the U.S. more internationally competitive and attract more investment, Bucshon said. And a less complicated individual income tax code will also help, he said.
Looking to the upcoming year, Bucshon, who was re-elected in November over Democratic challenger Dave Crooks, said he expects the focus in Washington to remain mostly on domestic policy.
However, that also depends upon events in Iran, Syria and even Mexico, where he said drug cartels are branching out into U.S. cities.
“The cartels are almost more powerful than the Mexican military,” Bucshon said. “I do think that that situation very well could become an international problem for us that we’re going to have to deal with in the next couple of years.”